Baseball suffers tough weekend in Miami

Wake Forest was forced to cancel the final game of their series due to a lack of depth


Jake Stuart, Assistant Sports Editor

After over two weeks in the dugout due to COVID-19 protocols, Wake Forest baseball is back. The Demon Deacons immediately faced a challenge against the Miami Hurricanes, who overcame top-ranked Florida to open their season. It didn’t help Wake Forest that Tuesday’s game against Elon was postponed, as this contest would have given the Demon Deacons a chance to build confidence after winning just one game out of three against Notre Dame. Regardless, the team was back on the diamond once again and ready to play ball.

Friday: Wake Forest 0, Miami 10

In the first road game of the Demon Deacons’ young season, Wake Forest fell to No. 5 Miami in a tough contest. Wake Forest was held to just two hits and five baserunners against one of the premier collegiate talents, Miami pitcher Alejandro Rosario. The Miami native is ranked as the No. 24 overall prospect in the nation by Perfect Game, and throws a fastball that reaches 97 MPH. In addition, Rosario was selected as a 2019 All American Classic Player and a preseason All American. For Wake Forest, senior William Fleming took the mound for the third time this season. He looked stellar against Northeastern and rock-solid against Notre Dame, only allowing four runs on 13 strikeouts in those games, combined.

The first two and a half innings were scoreless, and both pitchers started strong. In the bottom of the third inning, Miami opened the scoring with two outs to take a 1-0 lead. The Demon Deacons nearly answered back off a double from senior Bobby Seymour, his second of the season. The bottom of the fifth inning was a big one for Miami, with five runs scored. Three straight pitches from Fleming resulted in a two-run home run, a solo home run and a wild pitch that made the score 6-0 in favor of the Hurricanes. The night would end there for Fleming, who pitched five innings and allowed six runs on six hits.

“[Fleming] threw the ball okay tonight and ran out of gas a little there,” Wake Forest coach Tom Walter said.

However, the Hurricanes were not done yet. In the bottom of the sixth, Anthony Vilar hit a home run to right field, adding two more runs and extending the lead to 8-0. The knock gave him three hits and three RBIs on the day. Miami would add a pair of runs in the last two innings, and the contest ended with a 10-0 scoreline.

Wake Forest had three errors in the game, moving them to a total of 16 on the season. Due to injuries and COVID-19 issues throughout the season, the Demon Deacons have been unable to find consistency, on the defensive side of the ball. 

Saturday: Wake Forest 3, Miami 6

Despite a pair of homers and marked improvement at the plate, Miami once again prevailed over Wake Forest, 6-3.

Wake Forest freshman Rhett Lowder took the mound looking to find his groove after allowing five runs on six hits in a losing effort back on Feb. 28 against Notre Dame. In the prior outing, he lasted six innings and threw for ten strikeouts while only giving up two hits and one run.

Miami got off to a strong start with a single from Yohandy Morales, which gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. The Demon Deacons bounced back in the top of the second inning off a solo home run from senior Bobby Seymour, which made the score 1-1. The nation’s 2019 RBI leader and ACC player of the year would add a double in the sixth inning to complement his big day. Seymour is now just 23 hits away from 200 across his collegiate career. He’ll look to become only the 28th Demon Deacon to reach that milestone.

Wake Forest would take their first lead of the series in the sixth inning off the bat of Brock Wilken. The freshman phenom hit a two-run home run to left-center field, following a double from junior Michael Turconi. Wilkens’ fourth home run of the season made the score 3-1 in favor of Wake Forest.

Lowder was stellar throughout the first five innings before finally being knocked around by the Hurricanes in the sixth. Vilar hit a two-run home run — just as he had done a night before — for Miami, evening the score at three. Lowder finished the day with 5.1 innings pitched, allowing three runs on five hits with six strikeouts.

“Obviously we’re pleased with Rhett Lowder’s start. He really only made two bad pitches on the day,” Coach Walter said.

Fellow freshman pitcher Hunter Furtade stepped in for Wake Forest in the sixth inning but surrendered a pivotal run to give the lead back to Miami at 4-3. The Hurricanes added two more runs in the seventh and eighth innings to make the final score 6-3.

Sunday’s series finale scheduled for 1 p.m. was canceled due to return-to-play protocols. Following Saturday night’s contest, Wake Forest informed Miami of their decision to cancel the game due to a lack of available pitchers. Wake Forest used eight pitchers over the prior two games and was still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 protocols.

Following the series loss, Wake Forest dropped to 3-6 overall and 1-4 in conference play. Wake Forest will return home looking to right the ship with another series against ACC opponent Georgia Tech this weekend.