The No. 24 ranked Wake Forest baseball team will look to claim their fourth straight ACC series to open the year when they take on the Miami Hurricanes this weekend.
Wake Forest enters the series at 19-7 (6-3), while the pre-season top 10 Miami Hurricanes are sitting at 11-14 (4-5). Don’t let the record deceive you though, this is a talented Canes squad. The Canes won a series against Georgia Tech, but lost series in N.C State in Raleigh and North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Miami leads the overall series history 32-9, including winning 2 out of 3 in 2012 in Coral Gables, which is the last time the Deacs made the trip down south.
The Hurricanes are coached by Jim Morris, currently in his 24th season. Miami is 8-5 at home on the year, while Wake Forest is 6-3 on the road. Mark Light Field holds 4,999 people, so it should be a good atmosphere for the Diamond Deacs to get some wins in front of.
Although the Canes are 2-8 vs. the top 50 in the RPI this season, they have a win at N.C. State, and at North Carolina. Getting a series win here would be a good road trip for Wake.
Last Time Out
While the Hurricanes dropped a midweek tilt at Florida Gulf Coast 3-0, it’s not completely unexpected, as Dunk City (Home Run City???) is 8th in the RPI, compared to Wake’s 10th, and currently sit at 23-3 on the season.
Wake Forest defeated the Appalachian State Mountaineers 5-4 in Boone on Tuesday behind a 9th inning home run by redshirt sophomore shortstop Bruce Steel.
The Diamond Deacs have won three in a row, and are 8-2 in their last 10. In ACC play they have outscored opposing teams 67-46 (+2.3 RPG).
Starters (Wake listed first)
Friday (1 P.M.) - RHP Parker Dunshee (4-1, 5.05 ERA) vs. RHP Jesse Lepore (1-3, 4.64)
Saturday (7 P.M.)- RHP Donnie Sellers (3-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. LHP Jeb Bargfeldt (1-2, 2.61 ERA)
Sunday (1 P.M.) - RHP Connor Johnstone (3-0, 3.32) vs. LHP Michael Mediavilla (3-3, 4.85 ERA)
The starting pitching will try to continue to rack up wins, as they have combined for a 10-2 record on the season. Dunshee will try to get back to the form that he was in towards the end of last season, a lot of which seems to be his sometimes erratic arm that has resulted in 8 HBP already this season.
Donnie Sellers has made a successful move from the bullpen to starter, and he continues to learn on the job to pitch instead of just throwing hard all the time.
On Sunday Connor Johnstone will look to continue his great pitching of late, which has resulted in a team low batting average against.
I don't expect a lot of changes to the batting order, as Coach Tom Walter has stuck with a very strict order so far this season. This order has yielded 18 innings already this year that scored 4+ runs. The Deacs record in those games is 10-1. In games when they don’t score 4+ runs in an inning their record falls to 9-6.
- Jonathan Pryor (LF)
- Jake Mueller (2B)
- Stuart Fairchild (CF)
- Gavin Sheets (1B)
- Ben Breazeale (C)
- Johnny Aiello (3B)
- Bruce Steel (SS)
- Keegan Maronpot (RF)
- Logan Harvey (DH)
Around The ACC
Other series around the ACC this weekend are:
Boston College @ Virginia Tech
Pittsburgh @ Duke
Clemson @ Georgia Tech
Louisville @ Virginia
North Carolina @ Florida State
N.C. State @ Notre Dame
1. Louisville 22-2 (8-1)
2. Clemson 22-4 (8-1)
3. Wake Forest 19-7 (6-3)
4. Florida State 18-8 (6-3)
5. N.C. State 14-12 (4-5)
6. Notre Dame 8-15 (2-7)
7. Boston College 8-14 (1-8)
As the standings reflect, there is currently a decent-sized gap between the top four teams in the conference and the 5th-7th teams in the conference. This is an excellent chance for N.C. State to join the top four if they can get a sweep of Notre Dame in South Bend this weekend.
It may be a tall task to ask, but Wake Forest needs to grab 2 out of 3 this weekend to maintain their standing in the top of the ACC and keep their eye on possibly hosting a Regional bid.
The games are all available on ACCN Extra, which effectively corresponds to WatchESPN/ESPN3. If you want to watch the games, they should all be available to stream through your ISP.