We have not written a lot about the Wake Forest Diamond Deacs this year, but boy has it been an odd season.
The Deacs have shown that they can compete and beat pretty much anybody in the country, as it showed with series wins over top 15 squads Louisville, Florida State, and Duke.
Unfortunately the team has also shown that it can lose to just about anybody, which it has done in almost every single mid-week game this year.
Yesterday was another glimpse of what would make this team hard to beat in the ACC Tournament, or even the Regionals should a late-season run occur. Griffin Roberts and Morgan McSweeney threw 14 shutout innings with 22 strikeouts in two games yesterday to completely shut down the Boston College bats en route to a 3-0, and 2-0 victory in a Friday double-header.
Closer Rayne Supple got two saves on the day and Tyler Witt also chipped in two shutout innings in the second game.
Roberts (4-3) started off the day by striking out 11 batters in 8 innings, allowing just one hit in his outing. He also faced just three more batters than he needed to, allowing a walk, and a hit-by-pitch in addition to the hit. He has now struck out at least 10 batters in six starts this season, and leads the nation in strikeouts with 90 on the season.
He has been exceptional all season and his devastating slider, change-up, and fastball combination has gotten scouts attention wherever he has pitched.
In the second game it was sophomore Morgan McSweeney who took the Eagles to the woodshed, also striking out 11 Eagles, but needing just 6 innings to do so. He allowed just two hits and a walk in improving to 2-4 on the season.
The final game of the series will be today at 3 PM on ACC Extra.
A double-header was necessary yesterday due to the chances of inclement weather coming into Boston tonight and tomorrow.
The Deacs improved to 16-20, (9-8 in the ACC) on the season, and currently sit at 3rd in the Atlantic Division, just 2.5 games behind the No. 2 ranked N.C. State Wolfpack. The two wins put Wake in a very good spot to qualify for the ACC Tournament. Boston College dropped to 12-21 (5-12 in ACC play).
If Wake wants to return to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season it will require either an unbelievable run down the stretch, or winning the ACC Tournament. This year has been a strange one for the Deacs after losing an absurd amount of talent to the MLB Draft, as well as three key guys to suspensions for what will almost certainly be the whole season at this point.
The youngsters have stepped up though, as freshmen have dominated the starting lineup throughout the year, especially hitting. The overall record may not be what most fans want, but the future is extremely bright, as most the batters will return next year, and the pitching should be steady as well.
I would not be surprised at all if the Deacs put a late season run together that will give them at least an outside shot at an NCAA Tournament bid. That starts with getting consistent mid-week pitching, which has been the Achilles Heel of the team all year.
With series against UVA, Clemson, Georgia Tech and N.C. State left, there is plenty of time for Wake to get some more impressive wins, but the thing that is most needed now is simply as many wins as possible to try to get to 30.
With 19 games remaining that means the Deacs need to go 14-5 to get there. Certainly not un-doable, but unlikely at this point. Either way, I have enjoyed the highs of this season and look forward to that translating to more wins in the future.