PITTSBURGH, PA – In Saturday’s 23-4 drubbing of Pitt, Wake Forest catcher Bennett Lee was the lone starter to not register a hit — but he did walk three times. And, in the leadup to his first at-bat on Sunday, it was noted on the television broadcast that he was one of two Deacons first-teamers hitting below .300 on the season. So Lee took it upon himself to flip the script, ripping a grand slam to kickstart Wake Forest’s 17-1 series-clinching victory over the Panthers.
GRAND. SLAM. BENNETT. LEE. pic.twitter.com/Fdu0JpLchY— Wake Forest Baseball (@WakeBaseball) April 23, 2023
After being shut out Friday night, the Demon Deacons scored 40 runs over the next two games. Safe to say they took the loss personally.
With the victory, Wake Forest moves to 34-6 on the season and 16-4 in conference play, positioning itself well to capture the ACC Atlantic.
Behind some quality hitting by Lucas Costello, along with another home run for Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest was in good position by the end of the third. Add in three runs in a bases-loaded scenario in the fifth, and the Deacs had the game well in hand.
In the eighth, Brock Wilken added to the scoreline with a three-run home run, which tied the program record at 58.
Legendary. @B_Wilkes25 ™️ pic.twitter.com/UhMTu6UhDw— Wake Forest Baseball (@WakeBaseball) April 23, 2023
And, to put the cherry on top, Wake Forest loaded the bases in the ninth and punched in five additional runs.
On the mound, Josh Hartle put forth another quality start — a response from a tough one last week in Louisville — allowing just three hits and one earned run in 5.1 innings of action. The sophomore also punched out eight batters.
Cole Roland, Derek Crum, Michael Massey and Cam Minacci shut the door after Hartle, holding the Panthers scoreless in the final 3.2 innings and holding the Deacs over for another comfortable win and the series victory.
This coming week, Wake Forest will take their ACC bye, but will still play four games. On Tuesday, No. 10 Coastal Carolina comes to Winston-Salem. The following day, the Deacs will travel to Shelby, NC to face App State at the historic Keeter Stadium, home of the American Legion World Series. To close the week, Wofford and High Point will come to The Couch on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.