Tulane slowed Team Frate Train down Sunday night.
But they just couldn’t stop it.
The Green Wave, which had an answer for Ole Miss and Utah in the Oxford regional, couldn’t quite solve Boston College, or Team Frate Train as the Eagles call themselves.
It’s a name Boston College came up with to honor former player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS four years ago.
“You could write a book on the influence Pete has had on these boys,” Boston College coach Mike Gambino said. “Character. Integrity. Everything. Anytime something bad starts coming at these boys, they think about Pete and ask themselves ‘What do I have to whine about?’ ”
We’ll get back shortly to Frates, who was surely pleased when he got the news of Boston College’s regional-clinching 6-3 victory.
It was Tulane’s second loss to the Eagles in three days.
On Friday, it was Boston College ace Justin Dunn who gave Tulane fits, striking out 11 Green Wave batters.
Tulane played better the second time around but couldn’t quite get over the hump and push it to a winner-take-all Monday night showdown at Swayze Field.
“They were very opportunistic all weekend,” Tulane coach David Pierce said. “Credit to Boston College… We just came up short today.”
The Green Wave had its chances.
They scored one run in the eighth but couldn’t cash in with the bases loaded in an inning that ended with Boston College turning a double play.
Three innings earlier, there was a questionable call when Stephen Alemais was thrown out at third base. It spoiled what perhaps could have been a big inning for the Wave.
And the home run ball, which had been so kind to Tulane all season long, wasn’t there against Boston College.
Tulane hit six home runs in Oxford.
Five of those came against Ole Miss and Utah, but the Wave got just one homer (a sol shot by Hunter Williams in fourth) against the Eagles.
“That’s a scary club,” Gambino said. “They can change the game with one swing.”
Team Frate Train rolled through the Oxford regional, going 3-0 and will now make its way to the Coral Gables super regional to play Miami.
They’ll be taking the maroon Frate Train flag that they raised agfter Sunday night’s victory with them to South Beach.
Frates was an outfielder for the Eagles from 2004-2007 and is still in the Boston College record book for once driving in eight runs in a game. Gambino named him the school’s director of baseball operations after the ALS diagnosis. He traveled with the team for the first two-and-a-half years but has been unable to travel with the team this season.
But his presence is always with the team, as could be seen by the handful of fans who made the trip from Massachusetts wearing the shirts with “Frates” on the back.
Frates continues doing all he can to raise awareness for ALS.
You probably know more about Frates for what he helped start two summers ago. Frates helped start the Ice Bucket Challenge, a social media craze that helped raise over $200 million to help find a cure for the disease. Sports Illustrated named him Inspiration of the Year in December of that year. A SportsCenter documentary about his life was nominated for an Emmy.
The disease led to Frates becoming good friends with former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who is also battling ALS. The two former athletes talk all the time.
It’s why Boston College players wear “No White Flags” jerseys, Gleason’s charity, whenever they play games anywhere remotely close to New Orleans. They most recently wore the shirts in trip to Baton Rouge and Tallahassee.
“Pete’s been with us every step of the way,” said BC’s Joe Cronin. “We know how much he wants us to win. So it’s a little bit of extra motivation. He’s with us in everything we do.”