FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A single from Boston College's Jim Laufer in the top of the seventh inning at City of Palms Park on Saturday afternoon prevented what could have ended up being the Red Sox's best pitching performance of the entire year -- at least if you go by the box score.
The Red Sox won their 21st meeting with Boston College -- and the opener to their Spring Training schedule -- 6-0, and carried a no-hitter into the seventh and final inning. Laufer broke it up with a soft liner to left off southpaw Randy Williams and was thrown out at second base trying to stretch a double.
Boston College's only baserunner to that point was first baseman Mike Sudol, who walked in the fifth inning against righty Clevelan Santeliz.
"The idea is, early on, we talk so much about building arm strength, but always pounding the strike zone," manager Terry Francona said. "I think we had one walk. So that was good. I know these are college kids and they're coming out of the gymnasium for the most part. Our guys threw strikes, and that's important."
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One of the best Red Sox pitching prospects left in the system after the trade for Adrian Gonzalez, right-hander Stolmy Pimentel started the effort with a pair of strikeouts in the first inning. Pimentel pitched the second inning and was followed by Michael Bowden, Jason Rice, Santeliz and Matt Fox.
The game revolved around Kevin Youkilis in the first inning. Seeing his first game action as the full-time third baseman, Youkilis dove to his right to rob the Eagles' Garret Smith of a likely extra-base hit two batters into the game, following with a strong throw to first. And in the bottom of the inning, he added a three-run line-drive home run off the light tower in right field.
Youkilis and the other Red Sox regulars, including Dustin Pedroia, Marco Scutaro and David Ortiz, were pulled after three innings. Youkilis walked in his second at-bat. Ortiz grounded out twice, while Pedroia walked, scored and grounded out. Batting leadoff, Scutaro drew a pair of walks.
A Ryan Kalish single and a Lars Anderson sacrifice fly brought a pair of runs home to make it 5-0 in the third, and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth made it 6-0.
The Red Sox and Boston College faced off for the first time in 1916, and Saturday marked their 19th straight meeting. The Sox last shut out the Eagles in a 24-0 win in 2008.
Up next: After the Red Sox's Saturday night game vs. Northeastern at 6:05 p.m. ET, Youkilis is to play again, this time behind Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz in Boston's first Grapefruit League game of the spring on Sunday. The Red Sox visit the Twins across town at Hammond Stadium at 7:05 p.m.. Boston is defending its title in the Mayor's Cup, the name for its annual Spring Training series with Minnesota.
Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.