WINSTON SALEM, NC – Throughout this so far magical season for Wake Forest baseball, multiple players have said in press conferences that the team is never out of a game — the players always believe they are going to win. Behind two separate comebacks, Saturday’s game seemed to be another instance of that statement being true. But, the Deacons couldn’t close, and Boston College took advantage for a 11-9 victory in extra innings.
“We got six [innings] out of [Sean] Sullivan, we got two out of [Seth] Keener, we get the last three outs from [closer Cam] Minacci,” head coach Tom Walter said. “You look back at that game, and you’re like, ‘Hey, that’s a routine win. That’s what it’s supposed to look like.’ We just didn’t get those three outs.”
For Wake’s two comebacks, Boston College matched with two of its own. To Walter, that reality is a product of fretting over previous moments in the game.
“Baseball is one of those sports where…you got to be able to forget about the past,” he said. “I don’t think we did enough of that in today’s game. We took one at bat into the next, one pitch into the next. In our sport, you can’t let things affect you.”
Through five and a half innings, Wake Forest trailed 2-0 and had only registered two hits. Enter comeback No. 1. With one out, the Deacs promptly loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Then, four singles in five at-bats plated five runs, and Wake Forest stormed into the lead after seeming out of sorts to that point.
Another RBI-single ✅✅✅@HoustonMarek makes its 5-2 Deacs! pic.twitter.com/UpPM1JVryC— Wake Forest Baseball (@WakeBaseball) May 6, 2023
With star reliever Seth Keener in to begin the seventh, the lead didn’t last long. A three-run home run tied the game at five, and a solo shot in the eighth put the Eagles back in front.
“Keener felt like he had a couple of pitches that should have went his way, and he let it affect the next two hitters,” Walter said. “All of a sudden, he gives up a home run to the nine-hole hitter. All of a sudden, it’s a tie game.”
Enter comeback No. 2. With runners on the corners and no outs — by way of a Pierce Bennett walk and Justin Johnson single — Bennett Lee hit a sharp chopper in the middle of the infield. Bennett ran from third on contact, making for a close play at home. The ball was lost on the attempted tag — leaving Bennett safe — but also allowing Johnson to reach home and give the Deacs the lead anew. A two-out double by Lucas Costello added two insurance runs.
DEACS. LEAD. #MTFY pic.twitter.com/BSfvLc9GnT— Wake Forest Baseball (@WakeBaseball) May 6, 2023
With a three-run lead, Wake Forest turned to closer Cam Minacci for the ninth. Evidently, Boston College wasn’t finished either — a three-run home run sent the game to extra innings.
The Deacons’ bats then went down in order in the team’s three additional trips to the plate.
“When you’re the home team in the ninth, 10th and 11th, you probably should find a way to score,” Walter said.
And, Boston College’s third time around proved to be enough. Two more home runs against Cole Roland made the score 11-9, and allowed the visitors to steal a victory Wake Forest knew it should have had.
Say it with your bat!#Birdball pic.twitter.com/s88Yn5xVo7— Boston College Baseball (@BCBirdBall) May 7, 2023
“We had the game right where we wanted it twice,” Walter said. “[We] couldn’t close it out.”
From a pitching perspective, Wake Forest had done to them what it typically does to others — rip home runs. To be exact, Boston College knocked six balls over the fence.
“We just made bad pitches,” Walter noted. “And in this ballpark, if you make bad pitches, it’s gonna come back to catch you.”
“The home run Keener gave up was a hanging changeup,” Walter added. “The home run Minacci gave up was right in that left-handed swing path — slider down and in and it’s right in the swing path. He’s got to either get that in more or down more in that situation. The one Cole gave up was supposed to be a buried breaking ball, and then he elevated it.”
The reality: Wake Forest can’t hang its heads for long. The team returns to the field tomorrow for a moved up game time of 12pm, and an eighth-straight ACC series win is on the line.
“You’ve got to turn the page quickly,” Walter said. “Get back to playing Deacon baseball. We’re proud of this team. We’ve got a really good team. I’d rather have our team than any team in the country.”