Wake Forest continued their winning ways this weekend on the baseball diamond, nabbing their second straight ACC series win after getting two out of three against Duke.
With the two victories, Wake pushed their record to 15-6 (4-2 in the ACC) on the year. Duke fell to 11-11 (3-3).
The Diamond Deacs won the first game of the series 8-4 on Friday afternoon, riding the hot bat of sophomore Johnny Aiello. Aiello had his second multi-home run game in a Wake Forest uniform, and his first since the season opener of last year. He went 2-4 on the day with 3 RBI’s.
The patience at the plate paid off, as the Deacs drew 7 walks, and began a trend that would continue into the weekend.
Parker Dunshee fanned 12 out of the 27 batters he faced, throwing 7 innings of two run ball to grab the W and get to 4-1 on the year.
Duke evened up the series on Saturday with a come from behind 7-3 win. The Deacs led 3-2 going into the bottom of the sixth before the Blue Devils exploded for a 5 run inning to seal the deal.
Stuart Fairchild blasted a three-run home run over the Big Blue Monster in left field, his 7th of the year (15th nationally, but tied for second on the team with Gavin Sheets, one behind Aiello).
Donnie Sellers took the loss for the game, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 1⁄3 innings.
The rubber match on Sunday stayed close through half the game until Wake Forest put up 10 runs in the final four inning to win 11-2 and take the series. Despite scoring 11 runs, the Diamond Deacs only managed 6 hits, but benefitted tremendously from an erratic Duke bullpen and shaky fielding.
Wake drew 8 walks, including 3 from Jake Mueller in the second spot, and watched Duke commit 4 errors throughout the course of the game.
Connor Johnstone pitched 7 innings of 5 hit, 1 run ball to grab his second win on the year and improve to 2-0. He threw 62 strikes on 92 pitches and faced 27 batters.
Another strong weekend leads into another tough mid-week test, as Wake travels down to Charlotte to take on the 49ers tonight at BB&T Ballpark. The first pitch is schedule at 7:05 PM at the home of the AAA Charlotte Knights.
The 49ers enter the game at 13-7, coming off of a series win down in Florida over Florida International. They have already defeated West Virginia in a series earlier this year, and a nationally ranked N.C. State squad in Raleigh on March 1st.
This will be a tough test for the Deacs, as the teams split a home-and-home last year. It will be interesting to see what Coach Walter does from a pitching standpoint, as most of the mid-week games have been a committee effort.
The batting hasn’t been an issue at all, and I fully expect that trend to continue, but at some point it would be great to see the pitching catch up a bit. The Deacs are tied for the national lead in home runs, and rank in the top 20 in pretty much every other offensive category that matters.
Georgia Tech will visit Winston-Salem this weekend to take on the Demon Deacons from Friday-Sunday, as Wake will try to win their third straight ACC series to open the year.
If you get a chance to come out to the ballpark I highly suggest you do so. The team scores a lot of runs, there’s beer sold in the stadium, and the renovations are quite a sight to behold. You’ll really enjoy it and the players appreciate playing in front of a bigger crowd.