Wake Forest LHP Josh Hartle (23) pitched a season-high eight strikeouts against Boston College on Saturday.
Wake Forest LHP Josh Hartle (23) pitched a season-high eight strikeouts against Boston College on Saturday.

No. 12 Demon Deacons best Boston College for weekend series

Wake Forest’s offense continues to roll behind Nick Kurtz’s hitting

What’s the best way to let the college baseball world know you’ve returned to relevance? Easy: run-rule your opponent in the Friday opener. 

As if sweeping ranked Virginia Tech last weekend and dominating Coastal Carolina midweek weren’t enough of a statement, No. 12 Wake Forest continued to put the league on notice of their resurgence this weekend. The Demon Deacons had another fantastic road trip to take their weekend series over Boston College and return the team to an even record in the ACC. 

“We had to have that win to get back to .500 in the league. It’s good to win any series on the road,” Wake Forest Baseball Head Coach Tom Walter said after Sunday’s series-sealing win. 

Wake Forest blasted their way to victory in the series opener, seeing hits from all nine starters to ultimately run-rule the Eagles in just eight innings on Friday. The team then recorded a season-high 15 hits in their 9-3 win for the series on Sunday. 

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Of course, the story of Wake Forest baseball’s reawakening continues to be the hot-hitting bat of first baseman and top Major League Baseball (MLB) prospect Nick Kurtz. Kurtz extended his current streak of having at least one hit to ten consecutive games, and hit 13 of his 16 home runs in his last nine games. After a largely dormant first half of the season, the All-American team captain is rolling and shows no signs of slowing down. 

Meanwhile, RHP Chase Burns continues to make his case to be named National Pitcher of the Year. During his eight-strikeout win over Boston College on Friday, Burns became the first Division 1 pitcher to break 100 strikeouts this season. 

But while Burns and LHP Josh Hartle have successfully kept runs off, so has Wake Forest’s fielding defense. The fielders have made just four errors in the Demon Deacons’ last eight games. 

Wake Forest, however, continues to face uncertainty in their bullpen. Despite a season-high eight strikeouts in just over five scoreless innings from Saturday starter Hartle, two of the Demon Deacons’ relievers gave up a combined four runs in just one inning. Those game-tying runs and a homer off RHP David Falco Jr. in the ninth inning ultimately cost Wake Forest the game and the chance at a series sweep. 

It might have been better for the Demon Deacons to find their groove earlier in their season in series against ranked ACC rivals like No. 7 Duke, No. 10 Virginia and No. 11 North Carolina. But with showdowns against other ranked conference contenders like No. 8 Florida State and No. 6 Clemson close on the horizon, Wake Forest has still managed to hit their stride at a crucial point in the season. 

If the bullpen can find a way to finish behind Hartle’s solid Saturday starts and close out the weekend series, the high-flying offense can continue slugging the Demon Deacons to hosting an NCAA playoff game. 

Wake Forest will face No. 8 Florida State at David F. Couch Ballpark for the weekend series starting this Friday.

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