Parker Dunshee threw an absolute gem of a game, going 7.2 innings, striking out 11, and allowing only five hits and two runs en route to a 5-3 victory for Wake over Minnesota. This was the first NCAA Tournament win in baseball for Wake since 2007 when the Deacs beat Brown in an elimination game. Dunshee threw 121 pitches and allowed his only two runs on his final pitch - a two-run shot to Big 10 Player of the Year Matt Fiedler with Wake up 5-0.
Offensively, the Deacs pounded three home runs, led by Joey Rodriguez's two-run two-out shot in the third. Wake loaded the bases up in the fourth with nobody out but struck out in order at the 6-7-8 spots and Minnesota got out of the inning down only 2-0. After Rodriguez bunted for a hit in the 5th inning, he scored after two wild pitches and a fielder's choice brought him home without the ball ever leaving the infield to put the Deacs up 3-0.
Wake added two solo shots in the top of the 6th from Kevin Conway and Johnny Aiello to go up 5-0 and that was way more than Dunshee would need.
The junior came out pounding the strike zone early and often. While he benefited from a slightly inconsistent strike zone throughout the game, he absolutely didn't need any help, and settled in after giving up two early singles and a double without allowing a run. He cruised through the middle innings of the game and didn't even record a ground ball out until the bottom of the 6th inning, relying exclusive on strikeouts and fly balls.
In the 7th, Dunshee recorded the rare four-inning strikeout after the leadoff batter reached on a passed ball despite striking out. Dunshee's ability to paint the corners consistently throughout the game along with Minnesota's inability to adjust to what he was dealing enabled him to continually put down the Gophers in order late into the game.
Dunshee returned to the plate in the 8th when Wake was unable to bring across Conway after a two-out triple. After a lineout to center field, Dunshee gave up a double in the gap to the Gophers' lead off hitter which was the first base hit for Minnesota since the third inning. With Fiedler up next, Dunshee ran the count to 3-0 before a strike down the middle and then Fielder bombed a 3-1 pitch over the left field wall to chase Parker from the game and cut the lead to 5-2.
Donnie Sellers came in from the bullpen and gave up back to back singles up the middle before getting a lineout to center to finish off the 8th inning and put the Deacs three outs away from the winner's bracket. Wake went down in order in the 9th to set up a Garrett Kelly save opportunity in the ninth with the Deacs leading 5-2.
Kelly struck out the leadoff batter on three pitches but allowed a home run to right to cut the Wake lead to 5-3. After a four pitch walk, manager Tom Walter brought Craig in for the save opportunity after he warmed up in the previous inning. Craig induced two ground balls to the left side of the infield for the last two outs of the game and Wake wrapped up the 5-3 win to move into the winner's bracket.
With the win, Wake advances to the winner's bracket and will play tomorrow night at 9 P.M. EST against the winner of Texas A&M and Binghamton. Binghamton won the America East conference to make the NCAA Tournament while Texas A&M is ranked number one in the country and is the 4th overall national seed.