Baseball Defeats Top ACC Opponents

After a somewhat rocky start against non-conference opponents, the Wake Forest baseball team managed series victories against two formidable ACC opponents — Florida State and Louisville — and the team now appears poised to make a run as a sleeper in the ACC.

Florida State traveled to Winston-Salem for a three-game series against the Demon Deacons on March 10, and after dropping game one, they battled back to sweep the remainder of the series.

The turning point of the series was likely freshman outfielder DJ Poteet’s walk-off three-run homer in game two, which gave Wake Forest a 4-3 win.

Game three went smoothly, as the Demon Deacons cruised to an 8-1 victory in the rubber match to secure the series win. Sophomore Morgan McSweeney continued his success on the mound, cruising through 6.1 innings and allowing just three hits and a run.

The series victory sent an important message to the rest of the ACC, as the young team proved themselves capable of matching up against top competition. At the time of the series, the Seminoles were the No. 3-ranked team in the nation.

The team again solidified its reputation within the ACC against the No. 11 Louisville Cardinals, as the Demon Deacons once again came through in game three to earn a 2-1 series victory.

Junior Griffin Roberts started game one for the Demon Deacons, and his performance further verified that his transition into a starting pitching role has been successful. Roberts allowed just one run across 8.1 dominant innings and struck out 13 Cardinals. Roberts currently possesses a K/9 of 13.62, a remarkable figure for a starting pitcher. His dominance earned him an ACC Pitcher of the Week award on Monday, March 19.

Poteet turned in another heroic performance against Louisville, as he hit his second walk-off home run of the week in game one to lift Wake Forest to a 2-1 victory.

Poteet’s transition from high school into college baseball has been nearly seamless. The switch-hitting outfielder from Johns Creek, Georgia has compiled a .261/.402/.507 slash line and has started in every game this season. His expeditious adjustment to the college level kickstarted the Wake Forest offense and has been an integral part of the team’s ability to develop into a contender in 2018.

The Demon Deacons blew a 6-2 lead in game two of the series, allowing the Cardinals to plate nine unanswered runs, setting Wake Forest up for an important game three.

Junior third baseman Johnny Aiello came out swinging in the series cap, launching a grand slam in the first inning of the game to give Wake Forest an early cushion. Aiello has recovered from his early season slump, raising his batting average to .259 and his home run total to five.

The Demon Deacons never gave back the lead and eventually managed a decisive 6-3 victory. Junior second baseman Jake Mueller continues to set the table at the top of the lineup with a .341 average and a .471 OBP. His consistency in the leadoff spot has also been an essential part of Wake Forest’s turnaround.

The improved Demon Deacons will travel to Notre Dame over the weekend for another ACC series beginning on Friday March, 23.