Wake Forest baseball will travel to College Park for NCAA Tournament regional
The Demon Deacons hope to win their first NCAA Championship since 1955
May 30, 2022
For the first time since 2017, Wake Forest baseball will compete in the NCAA Tournament, with hopes of traveling to the College World Series in Omaha for the first time since 1955, when the Demon Deacons won it all.
When looking at the field, a point worth noting is that the Demon Deacons performed far better against strong competition than their opponents in the region. Wake Forest had six more wins against Q1 teams (14) than games Maryland, Connecticut and Long Island played in the quadrant combined (8).
Wake Forest comes into the NCAA Tournament with one of the best resumés in program history. After finishing the season 40-17-1 and 15-14-1 in conference play, the Demon Deacons enter postseason play as the No. 6 team in the country in RPI, a metric used to measure a team’s success over the course of the year. Wake Forest also went 14-12-1 against teams selected for the NCAA Tournament.
Wake Forest finished the regular season on a solid note, sweeping NC State — who made the ACC Championship — to solidify their place in the postseason. In the ACC Tournament, the Demon Deacons did not make the elimination stage after dropping a game to the Wolfpack before securing a 16-3 victory over the Miami Hurricanes, the No. 6 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“I am incredibly proud of this team,” said Wake Forest Head Coach Tom Walter after the selection announcement. “They have worked hard to come together and are playing their best baseball when it matters most. We have a tough challenge ahead of us but I can’t wait to be back on the diamond.”
Courtesy of the University of Maryland
Region Preview: No. 1 Maryland
Maryland, the hosts of a regional for the first time in program history, proved to be a strong team in 2022, winning the BIG-10 regular-season championship. The Terrapins went 45-12 overall and 18-5 in conference play, good for the No. 10 rank in the country. Maryland was also listed as the No. 9 team in RPI.
Despite their success during the 2022 season, the Terrapins did not face off against high-level competition for the majority of the year. The team is ranked No. 107 in the nation in strength of schedule and No. 140 in out-of-conference play. When playing Q1 teams, — which they only did seven times — Maryland went 3-4. Its best series win came against Rutgers, the No. 42 team in RPI.
Leading the Terrapin offense is junior outfielder Troy Schreffler Jr., who boasts a .348 batting average. Fifth-year outfielder Chris Alleyne leads the team in both home runs (22) and RBIs (75). Also, watch out for the bats of senior infielder Maxwell Costes and sophomore infielder Matt Shaw.
Sophomore Jason Savacool, the No. 1 pitcher for Maryland, has a 2.89 earned-run average (ERA) in 99.2 innings pitched. Junior Ryan Ramsey (3.49 ERA in 85.0 innings) is the team’s No. 2 starter. The apparent go-to pitcher out of the bullpen, redshirt sophomore David Falco Jr., has a 3.08 ERA in 26.1 innings
Courtesy of the University of Connecticut
Region Preview: No. 3 Connecticut
Connecticut, the champions from the Big East, are the No. 3 seed in the College Park regional. The Huskies’ 2022 record was 46-13 and 16-5 in-conference, good for 43rd in the RPI rankings.
Connecticut faced fewer good teams in the regular season, only playing one Q1 game all season, good for the No. 181 strength of schedule in the NCAA. The majority of its matchups came in Q4, where the Huskies went 29-4. Connecticut’s best series win — the second-to-last series of the regular season — came against Xavier, the No. 62 team in RPI. A week later, though, the Huskies were swept by Georgetown, the No. 137 team in the country.
Sophomore outfielder Korey Morton leads Connecticut with a .442 batting average but only played in 34 games for the team. Senior two-way player Erik Stock, who started all but one game for the Huskies, hit for a .375 average. Leading the team in home runs, with 11, are graduate students, two-way player Ben Huber and utility player Casey Dana. Huber also led Connecticut in RBIs (57).
Senior pitcher Austin Peterson is the No. 1 starter for the Huskies with a 3.22 ERA in 100.2 innings pitched. The No. 2 starter, sophomore Pat Gallagher, has a 3.21 ERA in 89.2 innings. Sophomore Garrett Coe appears to be Connecticut’s first choice out of the bullpen with a 2.56 ERA in 31.2 innings.
Courtesy of Long Island University
Region Preview: No. 4 Long Island
Long Island, the winners of the Northeast Conference tournament and regular-season championship, fill out the regional as the No. 4 seed. The Sharks went 37-19 and 18-9 in the conference, good for No. 135 in RPI.
Long Island only played four games in the second quadrant and did not face off against a single Q1 team. Their strength of schedule ranks No. 265 in the nation. The team’s best series win came against Bryant — ranked No. 103 in RPI — in early May. The Sharks fell to the Bulldogs in their earlier series in March.
Graduate infielder Luke Turner, who missed nearly the entire month of April, leads the team in batting average at .343. Leading the team in OPS and second in batting average is graduate Michael Edelman. The big bat in the lineup — junior EJ Esposito — leads the Sharks with 13 home runs.
As for pitching, the top-two starters for the Sharks are senior Josh Loeschorn and graduate Jalen Wade. Loeschorn, the apparent No. 1 for Long Island, has a 3.02 ERA in 95.1 innings pitched. Wade registered a 5.90 ERA in 68.2 innings. Out of the bullpen, senior Nick Torres — the NEC Tournament MVP — has a 3.14 ERA in 51.2 innings. While mainly pitching in relief, Torres has started games for the Sharks, including a 6.1-inning, no-run performance in the conference championship game.