Wake Forest’s bats mash Youngstown State

Wake Forest scores 27 runs in 16 innings against the Penguins


Evan Harris

Piece Bennett crosses the plate to score the Demon Deacons’ first run of the season.

Aine Pierre, Online Managing Editor

The Demon Deacons faced Youngstown State twice, once on Friday to open the season and in the first game of a morning-afternoon doubleheader on Sunday (the second game was against the Illinois Fighting Illini). Wake Forest won Friday’s game 9-3 — the closest game of the weekend for the Demon Deacons — and mercy-ruled YSU Sunday morning 18-3.

In Friday’s game, Wake Forest jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a Jake Reinsich sacrifice fly. The Demon Deacons never looked back, adding on six runs in the second inning off a Cecere solo shot, a Pierce Bennett RBI walk and a Nick Kurtz grand slam. 

Rake Forest did not stop there, as Kurtz homered again down the right-field line in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 8-0. Both Cecere and Kurtz hit four home runs over the weekend, and they both sit at the top of the Division I home-run race.

 A Bennett single in the bottom of the seventh plated the Demon Deacons’ ninth and final run.

The Demon Deacon pitching staff also had an impressive debut. Seth Keener, Friday’s starter, scattered a hit and a walk over five scoreless frames while striking out eight Penguins. The Penguins scored three off Joe Ariola in the top of the eighth inning, but otherwise, the bullpen was lights out. 

Wake Forest got off to a bit of a sleepy start after an 8:30 a.m. first-pitch time in Sunday’s game. Michael Massie gave up a two-run home run to Brae O’Shaughnessey in the first and a solo shot to Andre Good in the second. 

The Demon Deacons started to wake up in the home half of the second, and by the third, the score was even at three. Then, Wake Forest’s bats exploded in the fourth, sending 20 batters to the dish and plating 12 runs. After a Brock Wilkin three-run shot, the remaining nine runs came from keeping the line moving through walks and base hits.

After Youngstown State plated its third run, the Wake Forest pitching staff shut the Penguin lineup down, recording 18 outs while only allowing two hits. Derek Crum, Chase Walter and Ben Shenosky each tossed a scoreless frame out of the bullpen and combined for five of Wake Forest’s nine strikeouts. 

Under the NCAA’s mercy rule, both managers can agree to end the game if a team is winning by more than 10 runs, and the losing team has had at least seven innings at the plate. As a result, Sunday’s game ended after the top of the seventh inning, allowing Wake Forest an hour-long intermission between games. 

Youngstown State, which lost all four of its games, will travel to Memphis for a four-game set. The Penguins will not play in their home ballpark until mid-March.