Wake Forest stays alive with win against Long Island

The Demon Deacons will face Maryland tomorrow in an elimination game


Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

Starting pitcher Josh Hartle went seven innings, giving up a run and three hits, to grab the win in Saturday’s contest.

Essex Thayer, Sports Editor

Behind two explosive four-run innings and a strong start by freshman starting pitcher Josh Hartle, Wake Forest earned the right to play another day, defeating Long Island 10-4 to keep its hopes of advancing to the Super Regional alive.

We don’t shy away from the challenge we’ve got. We’ve got to get a win [tomorrow]. Survive and advance.

— Head Coach Tom Walter

“It means everything to me,” Hartle said of getting the win in an elimination game. “I just wanted to win for our guys. That’s the most important thing for me.”

The first inning was one of those explosive innings for the Demon Deacons, with the team hitting three home runs to secure an early lead. With freshman Tommy Hawke on first base, redshirt junior Michael Turconi launched the first home run to right field. On the very next at-bat, redshirt junior Brendan Tinsman hit the second to the other side of the field. Then, to close the scoring in the inning, sophomore Brock Wilken hit a final solo home run, also to left field, giving the Demon Deacons a solid 4-0 cushion after three outs.

In the top of the sixth inning, Wake Forest produced a second high-scoring inning, once again plating four runs. With the bases loaded, Hawke singled to bring in a run. Then, redshirt sophomore Pierce Bennett added another run with a single. A two-RBI single by Tinsman gave the Demon Deacons a commanding 8-0 lead.

At the end of a stellar performance when Wake Forest needed it most, Hartle finally allowed a run, but he kept it at one. In the seven-inning performance, Hartle only allowed three hits, setting the team up for success, especially with their backs against the wall.

“I was confident going into the game,” Hartle said. “Our team, we weren’t discouraged or worried that we dropped the first game. We play our best baseball when we’re hungry and starving and need to win.”

“We needed to get through that game without using [sophomore Teddy] McGraw, [sophomore Seth] Keener, [redshirt sophomore Reed] Mascolo, [graduate Gabe] Golob and [sophomore Camden] Minacci,” Wake Forest Head Coach Tom Walter said after the game. “We were able to do that. Josh Hartle was the reason we were able to do that.”

Walter continued: “Josh gave us seven really strong innings. I thought he had all four pitches working today. So, I’m really pleased with the way Josh threw the baseball.”

In the bottom of the eighth, the Sharks added a second run on an RBI single to move within six runs of the Wake Forest lead, but in the next half inning, the Demon Deacons took the game out of reach. Sophomore Lucas Costello brought in redshirt sophomore Adam Cecere with a RBI double to open the scoring in the inning. Then, to add a final insurance run, Bennett plated Costello with a sacrifice fly. Despite a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth, the deficit proved too large for Long Island, giving Wake Forest the win they needed to keep playing and sending Long Island home. 

With the victory, the Demon Deacons will play again tomorrow afternoon against Maryland, who lost to Connecticut 10-5. As with all games for the remainder of the College Park Regional, a loss tomorrow would send Wake Forest packing from the NCAA Tournament.

“We don’t shy away from the challenge we’ve got,” Walter said of their upcoming game. “We’ve got to get a win [tomorrow]. Survive and advance.