PITTSBURGH, PA – Since March 25, Wake Forest starting pitcher Sean Sullivan had not allowed a home run. That changed at Pittsburgh Friday night, as the sophomore allowed solo shots in back-to-back innings en route to a 3-0 Panthers victory over the No. 2 Demon Deacons.
After a Jayden Melendez homer to right field opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, Justin Acal doubled the Pittsburgh lead in the second with a ball off the scoreboard.
Sullivan would only last one more inning — a walk and two singles loaded the bases, and a fielder’s choice made run No. 3 on the evening. Reliever Seth Keener hit the mound and slammed the door shut from there, inducing a double play and keeping the deficit from getting out of hand.
Keener would go on to keep the Deacs in the game, allowing just two hits in 3.2 innings, while striking out three. Most importantly, he didn’t allow a single run.
But the Wake Forest bats never rewarded Keener’s effort. Due to a mix of fantastic pitching — starter Jack Sokol and primary reliever Dylan Simmons combined for just five hits and no runs in eight innings — and exceptional fielding, Pitt was able to work its way through Wake Forest’s lethal lineup with relative ease.
Additionally, as head coach Tom Walter alluded to after a Wednesday win over Liberty, the Deacs’ situational hitting was not up to par in their past two games. That trend continued Friday — Wake Forest was 1-11 with runners on base and 1-5 in scoring position. After the team attempted to start a two-out rally, which they did numerous times, it went 4-12.
Despite the loss, Wake Forest holds firm control of the ACC Atlantic, but now puts itself in danger of losing its first ACC series of the 2023 season. To even things up, the Deacs will turn to ace Rhett Lowder on the mound. First pitch is set for 4pm on ACC Network.