Tuesday, February 23, 2010

5 P Primer: Boston College

An old coach used to always hammer the 5 "Ps": Prior planning prevents poor performance. Not just a fancy slogan that gets a High School football coach/Driver's Ed instructor through the day; it's also a good way to know what to expect from upcoming Auburn opponents. Here's your 5 "Ps" for Auburn's opening opponent: Boston College.



PRESENTING- Boston College. BC is led by Mik Aoki who has led the Eagles to a bit of a resurgence. A solid coach, Aoki knows his priorities at BC:

Our goals are pretty much the same each year – chronologically they are win the Beanpot, win the ACC tourney, get to Omaha, win the national championship. The goals will be the same this year.

My expectations are for this team to be better than last year’s squad, and I think this team has a really good chance to be better. We lost some important pieces (Belfiore, Butera, MacDonald, Sanchez) but I think we’ll be more diverse offensively, as good as any in the country defensively and deeper than we were last year in our pitching staff. I am really excited about 2010.

Last year was one of the best in school history as he led the Maroon and Gold to their first NCAA Regional in almost 42 years and is a key part in a sort of BC resurgence. BC is steadily becoming a force in the ACC. BC, like most baseball teams north of Mason Dixon line is spending its early games on a huge road swing. The Eagles won’t play their first home game until March 23rd and will have logged nearly 10,000 miles while playing games in Florida, Louisiana, and here in Auburn. BC was picked to finish 3rd in the ACC Atlantic Division.



PREVIOUSLY- Last year, the Eagles took part in on of the most memorable college baseball games in history: a 25 Inning marathon loss against Texas in the NCAA Regionals. This year, BC is off to a solid start, taking a couple a games from Tulane to start the season. 8-5, 12-0, before losing the series finale 14-6. A series BC wasn’t (according to some experts) expected to win. The first two games BC relied on quality starts and never looked back.



PLAYMAKERS-

Three players to keep an eye out for on the BC Roster. We'll start with the guy who'll probably be ending the games: Closer Kevin Moran. Moran is listed on the Stopper Watch list and finished last year with an impressive 5-2 Record and 2.75 ERA. Moran was a darkhorse to fill BC's vacated third start position, but seems to have move safely back to the pen. He made one appearance this past weekend, working a clean 9th in the Eagles' series opening win against Tulane.



DH Mickey Wiswall (right) comes in as BC’s most decorated preseason player. 3rd Team All American, Golden Spikes Watch Lister, #84 on College Baseball Blog’s Top 100, and #83 on Aman Reaka’s Top 100. The 6' JR out of Stoneham, Mass played in all 60 of BC's games last year and was key in their NCAA run. He struggled a little against Tulane going 3-14. However, he still had 5 RBIs and a HR to his credit. He's a lot like Kevin Patterson. A stout guy who can give you tremendous power but can also whiff a cool breeze to CF (6 ks last weekend). Wiswall is BC's biggest power threat but tends to struggle against LHP.



The main cog of the BC offense is OF Robbie Anston, one of the best lead off men in the ACC. The Senior speedster is a threat to steal any time he reaches base, and had a solid opening weekend: .429 avg with a triple, and 4 RBIs. If Anston gets on, there's a sure bet he'll test the arm of Auburn C Ryan Jenkins.



PREVIEW- To be honest, BC will be the toughest test of the tournament. The Eagles will more than likely trot out LHP Pat Dean who’s coming off a tremendous opening start against Tulane (7 ip/2 er/8k/2bb) and had an impressive sophomore season (3.30 era/90+ k/16 bb). Dean doesn’t give up a lot of walks nor home runs and will definitely test Auburn’s newfound patience at the plate. Offensively, The BC lineup is pretty even (5 rh/4 lh) but CJP might try to send out a LHP (Dexter Price maybe?) to try to neutralize Wiswall and Anston.




PREDICTIONS- It will be tough for Auburn to top BC. The Eagles have some solid arms, some great playmakers, and are extremely well coached. As much as this pains me I say the matchup is 70/30 in BC’s favor this weekend. The Tigers and Eagles tangle at 6pm CST on Friday.

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