This Weekend in Division I — March 5, 2015

Coming off a strong weekend, Division I will look to keep up the momentum as we close in on conference play. More ranked matchups and road trips, and three two series on TV. BC even kicks off conference play down in Tallahassee. And most importantly, thanks to the turf down at CCSU, there’ll be real live baseball! In New England! Here’s the run-down.

In the Midweek

The highlight of this past midweek was, of course, Northeastern and BC’s games against the Red Sox. It’s great for a number of reasons: the guys on both teams get the experience of a lifetime, our sport gets its day in the sun with the New England sports media, and, this year, it was a big day for Pete Frates and K ALS, with both the Sox and BC wearing #3 jerseys to honor him. And on top of all that, both teams played really freakin’ well. In the earlier of the two seven-inning games, Northeastern lost a narrow extra-inning contest 2-1. Aaron Civale’s four-strikeout start (those were of Ortiz, Ramirez, Napoli, and Bogaerts, mind you) helped keep the Sox scoreless until the 5th. Isaac Lippert scored the tying run in the 7th, forcing extra innings before the Sox won 2-1. The Eagles acquitted themselves just as well, going down 1-0. Blake Butera, Chris Shaw, Travis Ferrick, and Nick Sciortino all collected hits (two off of Yale alum Craig Breslow), and the pitching staff held the Red Sox scoreless until Blake Swihart got a two-out RBI in the 6th to drive in their lone run. All around, couldn’t ask for a better day, unless maybe they’d played the Phillies.

Ranked + Televised Matchups

Maine draws the toughest assignment this weekend. They’ve got three with #2 Florida sandwiched in the middle of their two-week Florida trip. Since sweeping Rhode Island to start the year, the Gators’ only losses have been to fellow top-25ers Miami and Central Florida. Maine, meanwhile, has started off 4-9 3-9 (pending Wednesday’s game), collecting wins against Milwaukee, St. Bonaventure, Mt. St. Mary’s, and Bethune-Cookman. Senior Luke Morrill has led Maine offensively, hitting over .400 on the year so far. The Black Bears, who you’ll remember were picked second in the AEC, could get a landmark win here, but they could also be in for a long weekend against one of the nation’s elite. You can catch all three games on SEC Network+ (WatchESPN).

Staying in Florida, Boston College closes out their Florida trip and kicks off ACC play with a road series at Florida State, ranked as high as #19 (Coaches’ Poll). This is one of the weaker Seminole clubs in recent memory, but playing them in Tallahassee is never going to be easy. Mike Martin, their head coach since 1980, has never won fewer than 40 games, and an excellent home record is one of the biggest reasons for that. The Eagles have been playing good baseball, though. Before holding the Red Sox to a 1-0 nailbiter, they took three of four at the Snowbird Classic, recovering from a loss to Omaha to reel off wins against North Dakota State, Kansas, and Villanova. They’ve got a tough task at Dick Howser, but they’ve also got momentum. The Friday and Sunday matchups will be on ESPN3.

The other televised series is UMass’s season opener down at Kentucky. It’s not an easy opening test against a 9-3 SEC team, but the Minutemen bring back lineup pieces like Adam Picard and Mike Geannelis. They also get 2013’s top hitter Rob McLam back from injury. All four games, including both ends of a Saturday doubleheader, will be on SECN+.

Games in New England! Seriously!

In an awesome piece of news from last week, Northeastern, Brown, and Central Connecticut shuffled their schedules around to get games in on CCSU’s Balf-Savin Field this weekend. There’ll be a single game Friday at 2 (NU-CCSU), then games at 11 and 2 on Saturday and Sunday. Weekend highs in New Britain top out at 39, but even if that doesn’t feel warm to you right now, who cares? It’s the first weekend of March, and we’re getting competitive games in New England. With all the weather headaches we’ve suffered through the past few weeks, that’s awesome.

Western Trips

Not a fan of long plane flights? Be thankful you don’t play for Hartford or Sacred Heart. The two Connecticut teams head out past the Rockies for road series this weekend. Hartford visits Larry Miller Field for four with BYU, who’ll be itching to get some wins on the board after a tough early-season schedule. With a team ERA of 2.28 on the season so far, the Hawks will hold their own. Just be careful out there, guys, BYU likes to brawl. Sacred Heart heads to the Northwest for four with Washington State. Last week, the NEC team managed only three runs in four games down in Louisiana. That’ll obviously have to improve if they want to take games off the Pac-12’s Cougars.

Links

ESPN Boston‘s Gordon Edes wrapped up the Northeastern and BC games with the Sox. The Deseret News looks ahead to BYU’s series with Hartford. And UMass’s Daily Collegian previews the Minutemen’s season.

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