The Demon Deacons started March with a five-game home stand against non conference competition.
They won four of the five games, outscoring their opponents 41-12. They beat Mount St. Mary’s, Saint Peter’s, Towson and Richmond, but lost 6-3 to Harvard. The Deacs then went to Conway, S.C., for a two game series against Coastal Carolina.
Wake Forest dominated the first games 11-0 after a huge first inning rally. The Deacs lost the second match up 7-6 after a gutsy four-run rally in the ninth inning came up short.
Wake Forest started ACC play against Clemson on a positive note after winning the opening game 6-4. Led again by junior Will Craig hitting a pair of homers. Gavin Sheets hit a solo shot in the second to add to the scoring.
Park Dunshee pitched seven solid innings of work striking out eight.
Craig solidified the win on the mound, giving up only one hit in two innings and getting the save. Unfortunately, the Deacs lost the next two games dropping their first three-game ACC series of the season.
The Clemson series illustrated the power hitting capabilities of this year’s young team.
Craig leads the team offensively with a .458 batting average, seven homers, 26 RBIs and a 1.021 swinging percentage (among the nation’s best). Jonathan Pryor is second in batting on the team with a .372 average.
Nate Mondou, Kevin Conway and Sheets are looking to heat up to help the meat of the order.
Drew Loepprich and Dunshee have
been the most consistent starters so far this season sporting a 2.92 and 4.12 ERA respectively. The Bullpen has been very strong, and done well when given a lead. Craig, John McCarren, Garrett Kelly and Christian Bartholomew have been effective in relief.
Stranding runners on base and not maximizing runs have cost the Deacs lately. They have gotten one and two runs in big innings, but haven’t had extended rallies, failing to deliver on chances to put games away. With plenty of areas to improve, it is comforting that the Deacs still have an 11-6 record.
A good indication on how the rest of the season will go, are two huge series against ACC adversaries this March.
Wake Forest travels to Charlottesville to play UVA in a big three-game series from March 18-20.
The Deacs then come back home and play Duke March 25-27. Wake Forest has taken advantage of home field advantage, sporting a 9-3 record at Couch Baseball Field.
Maintaining a strong home record in March will be important, as Wake Forest will begin April with a brutal eight-game road stretch. This stretch could determine how successful the season ultimately is for the Demon Deacons.