After a devastating three-game sweep at the hands of rival N.C. State, the Wake Forest baseball team found themselves in an extremely difficult situation with only a few series remaining in the season.
This team simply is much too talented to have been struggling the way they were in the middle part of the season.
A team once projected to have its best season in years found itself on the outside looking in of the ACC and NCAA tournament.
Returning from the sweep, Wake Forest walked into a crucial couple games in their push to make the NCAA tournament.
They split one of two games against UNCG including a great comeback win (6-4) in the first game, and a game to forget in game two (18-3).
This loss really seemed as if it would take the sprit of the Deacs as they headed into a crucial series against one of the top five teams in the country, Florida State.
The Deacs opened up with a statement 9-0 win.
Led behind a dominant start by pitcher Parker Dunshee, and Ben Breazeale’s first career grand slam, Wake Forest won a huge game one. Jonathan Pryor also hit his first homerun of the year. Donnie Sellers got the save with two scoreless innings in relief. The Deacs fought hard in game two of the series, but ultimately fell to the Seminoles 13-8.
The Demon Deacons continued their offensive success with 12 hits, but Florida State scored 10 runs in the third to fifth innings and never looked back.
Game three was the series’ deciding game. Wake Forest notched ten hits, and played great defense, a struggle of the team this season.
Will Craig was two for three with a homerun, walk and a save on the mound. Craig has showed time and time again this season that he is one of the best all-around players in the entire country.
Keegan Maronpot made a highlight reel diving catch in the top of the first inning to prevent a rally, and keep the game from getting away from the Deacs early.
Connor Johnstone was sharp with only two runs in 5.1 innings of work. The Demon Deacons won the game 4-2 to help improve their ACC record to 7-11.
The next ten games will be crucial to Wake Forest, as they are now considered a bubble team for the NCAA tournament. The most important games will be those against top teams as they will help our odds to the selection committee of making the tournament.
Otherwise, the series against ACC opponents will be vital. Wake Forest will need to have a strong showing against their series against North Carolina, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Louisville.
One to its conference standing, the Deacs will need to depend an ACC tournament victory to punch a ticket to Omaha.
The final game of the season is on May 21 and tournament play begins on May 24. Wake Forest looks for a chance at its first National Championship since 1955 and its first visit to the NCAA tournament since 2009.