Baseball goes 1-3 in second week

Wake Forest falls to Coastal Carolina, then loses two of three against Notre Dame


Sophomore infielder Michael Turconi batting against Notre Dame. Turconi has 12 hits in 29 plate appearances, good for a .414 batting average. He has started all of Wake Forest’s seven games this season.

Jake Stuart, Assistant Sports Editor

Tuesday, Feb. 23- Wake Forest 1, Coastal Carolina 4

Wake Forest freshman pitcher Rhett Lowder threw an absolute gem against Coastal Carolina in his first start, but it was not enough, as the Demon Deacons fell in extra innings. Lowder is ranked as the No. 491 recruit in the nation by Perfect Game, the No. 12 prospect in North Carolina and was twice named the pitcher of the year in both the conference and the county. On Tuesday, he went six innings and tossed ten strikeouts while only giving up two hits and one run. His exceptional performance placed him at No. 8 in Baseball America’s “Week One Freshman of the Year Watch.” Furthermore, Wake Forest struck out 20 batters in 12 innings, the most by a Wake Forest pitching staff since stats were first tracked in 1999.

In a game that lasted four and a half hours, Coastal Carolina opened the scoring in the sixth inning with a solo home run to right-center from Makenzie Pate. The Demon Deacons answered in the eighth inning off a double to right-center from junior Michael Turconi, which scored sophomore Pierce Bennett. The game would go to extra innings all tied up at one.

It was Coastal Carolina that would ultimately break free in the twelfth inning with the bases loaded. Wake Forest pitcher Brennan Oxford walked Coastal Carolina outfielder Parker Chavers home with nobody out. He would strike out the next batter before walking in two more runners and making the score 4-1 in favor of the Chanticleers. The hill was too steep for Wake Forest to climb, and they dropped to 2-2.

Wake Forest left nine runners on base during the game. After scoring 27 runs in the three-game series against Northeastern, Wake Forest was only able to accrue one run against Coastal Carolina.

Saturday, Feb. 27 (Game 1)- Wake Forest 10, Notre Dame 8

Wake Forest overcame a 7-2 deficit to take game one against Notre Dame in a high-scoring affair.

The game, which was originally scheduled for Friday, was postponed to Saturday afternoon following a rainstorm in the Winston-Salem area.

Notre Dame first baseman Niko Kavadas opened up the scoring in the first inning with a two-run home run. The Demon Deacons answered back in the bottom of the second inning off a single from freshman Lucas Costello which made the score 2-1. But there was Kavadas again, this time outdoing his earlier heroics, blasting a three-run home run to make the score 5-1 in favor of Notre Dame.

Despite the slow start from junior Wake Forest starting pitcher Ryan Cusick, the home runs from Kavadas were the only runs Cusick would surrender all day. Cusick finished the day with a stellar 12 strikeouts in 5.1 innings. He gave up only four hits, three walks and the five runs.

Not often does a pitcher get a win and hit a home run in the same game, especially at the college level. Wake Forest senior Cole McNamee did just that and then some. Granted, he only pitched against one batter in the eighth inning, but it was at a crucial point for the Demon Deacons. McNamee also blasted a solo home run in the sixth inning, and added another base hit to further solidify his huge day. His home run brought Wake Forest within three in the sixth inning with the score 5-2.

Notre Dame would add a pair of runs off a David Lamanna single in the seventh inning to extend the lead to 7-2. Wake Forest bounced back in the seventh with a solo home run from senior Chris Lanzilli. Freshman Brock Wilken, who started his tenure with the Demon Deacons with a game-winning home run on opening day, proved to be clutch once again. He launched a ball to left-center field that sent home senior Shane Muntz and made the score 7-5. The scoring wouldn’t end there, though.

An eighth-inning rally was exactly what the doctor ordered for Wake Forest. The bats came alive and the Demon Deacons scored five runs behind four hits from Muntz, Wilken, Costello and Turconi. Freshman Camden Minacci stepped in to pitch the bottom of the ninth and picked up his second save of the season.

Saturday, Feb. 27 (Game 2)- Wake Forest 4, Notre Dame 5

An early grand slam by Notre Dame proved too much for Wake Forest to handle in a tight contest to round out the doubleheader.

In the nightcap on Saturday, the Irish got out to an early lead. Notre Dame loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning, and Alex Brait launched a home run to left field — just like that it was 4-0.

Wake Forest would climb their way back into the contest, scoring runs in the second, third and fourth innings to tie the game up at four. But, in the seventh inning, a wild pitch from freshman Crawford Wade gave the lead back to Notre Dame.

The Demon Deacons looked to capitalize at the bottom of the ninth, down just one run with a runner on first, but Lanzilli grounded into a double play, ending Wake Forest’s chances of a win.

Junior starting pitcher William Fleming went six innings for Wake Forest, striking out eight batters, while allowing four runs on five hits and two walks. The top of the order dominated for the Demon Deacons, with the first four batters Costello, Turconi, Lanzilli and Seymour coming up with seven of the team’s eight total hits. But these were not enough.

“Obviously it was disappointing to not find a way to win that second game,” said Head Coach Tom Walter. “It’s just hard to sweep a doubleheader. We had some chances. Once we got to 4-4, we were in great shape to win the game.”

Sunday, Feb. 28 (Game 3)- Wake Forest 0, Notre Dame 10

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons never got the bats going at David Couch Ballpark Sunday and suffered a tough loss to end the series against the Fighting Irish.

The beginning-of-game woes continued for Wake Forest, as they surrendered three runs in the first inning. The Demon Deacons gave up two runs in the first inning of the Saturday afternoon game, and then another four runs in the first inning of game two in the series.

A pair of singles from Jared Miller and David LaManna gave the Fighting Irish a 2-0 lead, and one more run was added on an Alex Brait groundout to second base. The Demon Deacons were forced to go to the bullpen early, as the starting pitcher, Junior Shane Smith, was pulled from the game due to an apparent injury. This is scary news for Wake Forest, who announced Saturday night that senior starting pitcher Antonio Menendez is done for the season. Wake Forest’s starting rotation went from five viable starters down to just three, only two weeks into the season.

Freshman Rhett Lowder, originally scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Western Carolina, was brought into the game in the third inning to replace Shane Smith for the Demon Deacons. In a tough spot, Lowder gave up three runs on a bases-clearing double by Brooks Coetzee. The score was now 6-0 in favor of Notre Dame. Coetzee was not done, and in the fifth inning, he doubled to left field sending two more runners home and making the score 8-0. An error led to two more runs for Notre Dame and that was how the game finished.

The Demon Deacons look to bounce back against Western Carolina on Wednesday before finishing their 11 game homestand against Boston College.