BOONE, NC – A short seven days ago, Wake Forest suffered midweek madness, as it fell to Elon 5-3. Starting pitcher Reed Mascolo was bounced around to the tune of seven hits and four earned runs in just 4.1 innings. And, the Deacs’ bats struck out 10 times.
This Tuesday — in Boone — it was déjà vu, except for one critical part of the story. Mascolo was out of the game by the end of the second with three earned runs, and Wake Forest was sent down with 10 Ks. But, with the help of a fifth-inning batting clinic, the Deacs left App State with a comfortable 10-4 victory.
With two outs in the first, Brock Wilken got the party started with a double to the right-center gap. Back-to-back hits from Justin Johnson and Jake Reinisch then brought Wilken and Pierce Bennett home, giving Wake Forest the early lead.
Mascolo registered two strikeouts in the home half of the inning, but not before App State joined the Deacons on the scoreboard. With runners on the corners, Hayden Cross singled to center to plate the run. But, a smart play by Wilken at third got the second out, and an additional punchout by Mascolo sent the Deacs back to the dish still in the lead.
In the following inning, it only got worse for Mascolo. Following a leadoff single, Jonathan Xuereb took a ball deep to left to rocket the Mountaineers into the lead. And, if not for a nice throw on the cutoff by Wilken to get a runner out at home, the lead could’ve been more.
That proved to be the end of the day for Mascolo, and the Deacs turned to star reliever Cole Roland to put an end to the bleeding.
With back-to-back 1-2-3 innings from Roland, the Wake Forest bats finally regained their firepower in the fifth. Hits by Wilken and Johnson set the Deacs back into the lead, and a sacrifice fly by Reinisch made the score 5-3. To put the icing on the cake for the inning, Danny Corona rocked a 475-foot, two-run homer to right field, marking the longest deep ball tracked for the Deacs this season.
It was, for the most part, smooth sailing from there. Joe Ariola, Chase Walter, Derek Crum, Will Ray, Michael Massey and Cam Minacci brought the Deacs home out of the bullpen, Wilken added a solo shot to left in the sixth and Bennett knocked in two in the eighth for insurance.
The Mountaineers added a run in the ninth, but what could’ve been another midweek crisis was averted.
Wake Forest will travel to Louisville this weekend to face the red-hot No. 10 Cardinals, who are fresh off a three-game sweep of No. 11 Boston College. First pitch on Friday is set for 6pm on ACCNX.