CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — When Pat Dean decided to play baseball at Boston College, he wanted an opportunity to show his skills on a national stage. He’s getting his chance.
Dean has entrenched himself in the Eagles’ weekend rotation, a spot that ensures he’ll face some of the premier teams in college baseball. He’s making a name for himself in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Just ask the nationally-ranked Miami Hurricanes. Dean took the hill at Alex Rodriguez Park in Miami March 12 and shut down the Hurricanes with a six-hit, nine-strikeout performance over eight innings, in a 3-0 win.
With the victory, Dean improved to 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA, 21 strikeouts and only two walks in 22 career innings against Miami. His success fulfills a childhood dream.
“I grew up watching them on TV, and it’s unbelievable to have the success I’ve had against them,” said Dean, who earned ACC Pitcher of the Week honors, after the Miami game. “I wish I could tell you why I pitch so well against them.”
Dean kicked off his spring season with three wins in four starts. Not only did he top Miami but also he beat perennial power Tulane on opening day and defeated Florida Atlantic.
He’s 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA, 25 strikeouts and six walks. Dean’s one other start, a no-decision against Auburn of the Southeastern Conference, may have been the most telling performance of how far he’s come as a pitcher.
Dean scattered 11 hits and five runs over seven innings but kept his team in the game; Boston College lost, 6-5, in 10 innings. The statistics belied his performance, which illustrated the experience he’s gained at BC.
“I think I’ve come a long way since my freshman year,” Dean said. “I’ve learned how to pitch and not just be a thrower.”
While only beginning his junior season in Chestnut Hill, Dean already has tallied quite a checklist of accomplishments on the diamond.
Last season, Dean led his team in wins and strikeouts. In addition, he finished among the leaders in the ACC, one of the best leagues in college baseball, in ERA (fifth overall) and strikeouts (seventh).
In the 2009 postseason, Dean earned a spot on the ACC all-tournament team and pitched seven solid innings against Texas in the NCAA tournament. This year, he’s getting the chance to face more, quality teams.
The ACC features five top-25 teams: Virginia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami and North Carolina. Next up for Dean is a scheduled start against Duke on Friday. Dean appreciates the competition and knows the benefits it can bring.
“If you have some success against these teams, it shows you can play,” Dean said. “It’s a great opportunity, and I plan on taking advantage of it.”