Going for a much needed sweep, Tristin English (2-1, 4.03) tried to build on masterpieces by Curry and Thomas against sophomore RHP Colin Peluse (6-2). The Jackets failed to get the sweep as the were outplayed in every aspect of the game by a team they had dominated for the first two, although the pitching was wild on both sides, with six hit batsmen and eleven total walks.
The game was a real pitchers’ duel until the Wake 3rd, when they loaded the bases with one out after a leadoff double. Tristin responded with a K and groundball out three to keep it scoreless, although his pitch count was over 50. Wake jumped on top in their 4th when D. J. Poteet of Johns Creek hit a two out three run homer to center. Tech got one back in their half of the inning when Chase Murray drove in Bailey with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1 after four. Brant Hurter came in to relieve English, who was over 80 pitches and didn’t have his best stuff today. There’s no midweek game this week, making Hurter available.
In Tech’s 5th, Waddell led off with a double and moved to third on Radcliff’s deep fly. Then, Nick Wilhite laid down a perfect bunt on what appeared to be a suicide squeeze that Wake misplayed into a run and single. After Bailey made out two, the Deacons brought in junior RHP Rayne Supple who ended the threat.
In Wake’s 6th, they got runners to second and third with one out. After Hurter got a strikeout for out two, Robert Winborne relieved him. Leadoff batter Frick hit a line drive that went over Murray (perhaps he could have caught it) for a two RBI double that restored the lead to three. All of Wake Forest’s RBI hits today were after two out today – clutch hitting. After the Jackets failed to score in their 6th, Andy Archer came in to pitch. He got two quick outs before a walk, hit batsman, and another clutch two out RBI hit made it 6-2 with time dwindling.
Tech got one back in their 7th, but squandered a huge opportunity after the pitcher loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and two hit batsmen. But only a sacrifice fly from McCann could score a run as Austin Wilhite and Colin Hall failed to drive anyone in. Micah Carpenter came in to pitch the 8th and pitched until two outs in the 9th, when he loaded the bases with two outs and was relieved by Jake Lee, who got a strikeout to end the threat, Tech still trailing by three. After McCann walked with one out in the 9th, Wake brought in junior LHP Tyler Witt. Supple had really pitched well, other than some control problems he had pitched around. After Murray singled and the outfield misplayed it into runners at 2nd and 3rd with one out, it looked like Tech was going to mount a rally. But Witt soon struck out Austin Wilhite and Colin Hall to end the game 6-3. The Jackets fell to 24-21 (11-13) as Wake improved to 20-25 (11-13). English took the loss, and Supple the hard fought win, with Witt the save.
Tech did the minimum they needed this weekend – win the series – but when the hole they’re in is as deep as this one, it still feels deflating. They will have to beat both UVA on the road and Duke at home to finish at .500 or better in the ACC and have a realistic chance at the NCAA’s.