Wake Forest’s Tate Ballestero (0) and Jake Reinisch (31) congratulate each other at home plate.
Wake Forest’s Tate Ballestero (0) and Jake Reinisch (31) congratulate each other at home plate.
Katie Romhilt

Baseball shuts out Elon in 9-0 pitching masterclass

With 11 hits and zero errors, the Demon Deacons’ bats were just as hot as their gloves

Wake Forest Baseball (10-1) secured their seventh win in a row at the Couch against the Elon Phoenix (4-7), coming off of a close game against Binghamton on March 2. Wake Forest’s starting pitcher was 6-foot-5, right-handed Michael Massey (3-0, 0.71 ERA). The starter for Elon was the 6-foot-2, right-handed pitcher Nolan Straniero (0-1, 13.06 ERA).

Opening up the game, Elon’s leadoff man Kenney Mallory Jr. stepped to the plate boasting a threatening 0.543 batting average — but was quickly made work of by Massey, who caught him looking to secure his first of many strikeouts.

Wake Forest would open up the scoring in the bottom of the first, when Seaver King launched a two-run shot to bring Nick Kurtz, who was walked, home.

By the bottom of the third inning, Massey had already put together four strikeouts, and the Demon Deacons would continue to build his run support after Adam Tellier converted a long 3-2 at bat into a solo shot to left field.

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The fifth inning was all that Wake Forest needed to build the momentum to win. Massey had struck out seven batters up to this point, and in the bottom of the inning, Wake tacked on five runs in five hits —- including a three-run bomb to right field by Kurtz, setting the fans in the Couch ablaze.

After an effortless two more strikeouts by Massey, Head Coach Tom Walter pulled him from the mound. Massey walked to the dugout to thunderous applause, putting up a menacing nine strikeouts in just 5.2 innings.

“He’s definitely trending in the right way,” Walter said in a post-game interview.

Save for a solo shot by Jake Reinisch, the rest of the game was quiet. Wake Forest would throw in three more pitchers: Zach Johnston, Will Gervase and Blake Morningstar, who let up a combined total of zero runs and secured seven strikeouts.

After the game, Walter sang praises for both Massey and the rest of the bullpen. He said that Johnston’s change-up and slider have only gotten more deceptive, saying similar things about the quality of Gervase’s breaking balls.

“I know we got a little battle-tested yesterday for sure, which was good,” Walter said. “We needed that. But it was good to rest up and win today. Our next eight games are certainly going to be the hardest of the season.”

Wake Forest is set to play Georgetown at the Couch on Tuesday. The first pitch is set to be at 4 p.m. on ACCNX.

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