No. 20 Deacons continue strong season

No. 20 Deacons continue strong season

The Wake Forest baseball team recently dropped in the rankings from No. 17 to 20 after losing a series to No. 2 Louisville. 

The Demon Deacons faced their toughest challenge of this season this past weekend in Louisville, Kentucky against the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals have been dominant at home this year with an 18-0 record and 37-0 dating back to last year.

The Deacs faced MLB first-round draft prospect Brendan McKay on Friday night.

The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead early in the game, but a double by Stuart Fairchild followed by a two-run hit by Gavin Sheets would give the Deacs the lead for good.

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Parker Dunshee was stellar, throwing seven innings and allowing just one run on five hits and one walk while striking out six. Griffin Roberts closed the door in the last two innings to earn the save while striking out four.

Unfortunately, the Deacs dropped the second game of the series. Donnie Sellers had a strong start, pitching six innings, but the bullpen could not hold strong as Louisville took the game 7-6.

Sunday featured the rubber game with the Deacs starting last weeks ACC Pitcher of the Week Connor Johnstone. The Deacs battled throughout the whole game and overcame a four-run deficit to tie the game at 5-5 going in the eighth inning. Louisville used a walk, a hit batter and a double to take the lead for good 7-5.

Next, the Deacs faced reigning National Champion Coastal Carolina. The Deacs beat them earlier this season behind a strong effort by the bullpen and offense.

In this week’s contest on Tuesday, April 11, the Demon Deacons again topped Coastal Carolina. This was a high scoring affair in which Wake Forest came out on top by a score of 19-9 thanks to a grand slam and a three-run-homerun by Fairchild.

The Demon Deacons are a consensus top-25 team for the first time in more than a decade. Wake Forest is ranked by Baseball America (20), Collegiate Baseball (22), USA Today Coaches (22), D1Baseball (24), NCBWA (24) and Perfect Game (25).

The team is off to its best start since opening the 2006 season 23-7. The Demon Deacons also won the first four ACC series of the season for the first time since 2002, which was also the last time they hosted a regional.

Five Deacons have already had at least seven homers: Johnny Aiello (11), Sheets (10), Bruce Steel (eight), Fairchild (10) and Keegan Maronpot (seven). The last time the Deacs had more than five players with at least seven homeruns was 2002.

The next four games will be played on the Deacs’ home field. First, the Demon Deacons welcome Notre Dame to Winston-Salem for an ACC series, then Charlotte will travel here for one of the final games of the regular season.

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