The Wake Forest baseball team is bringing in 11 freshmen as part of the 2017 signing class.
Matt Hobbs and Joey Hammond will join the Demon Deacons baseball coaching staff
The Demon Deacons and Wolfpack played to a doubleheader split on Saturday, with Wake Forest clinching the series.
The Demon Deacons opened the ACC Championship with a 4-3 victory over Duke to advance into pool play.
The Cardinals claimed the series-opening pitchers' duel from the Demon Deacons, 3-1.
The Demon Deacons had 12 hits in the contest, but the Seminoles had four innings of at least three runs to earn the win.
Since his arrival, nine Demon Deacon pitchers have been drafted or signed to minor league teams in three years, including four each following the 2016 and 2017 seasons. In his coaching career, 30 student-athletes were either drafted or signed pro contracts, including 27 who were undrafted heading into college.
He's guided eight players to be drafted in the top-10 rounds, and overseen a total of seven big leaguers: Rob Zastrysny, Guido Knudson, Matt Stites, Dylan Axelrod, Jeff Stevens, Chuckie Fick, and Tanner Scheppers.
In each of his three years in Winston-Salem, the Demon Deacons have improved in ERA (5.73 to 5.24 to 4.11), strikeouts (364 to 435 to a program-record 559), walks per nine (5.03 to 4.35 to 3.83) and opponent batting average (.281 to .280 to .247). The Demon Deacons have also significantly improved their win totals each year under Hobbs, from 27 to 35 to 43, winning the 2017 NCAA Winston-Salem Regional and falling a game short of the College World Series at the Gainesville Super Regional.
The pitching staff excelled down the stretch, recording a 3.81 ERA, .240 opponent batting average and more than a strikeout per inning against the likes of Florida, West Virginia and UMBC in the NCAA Tournament.
Hobbs oversaw Parker Dunshee's development as he became a two-time all-conference starting pitcher, seventh-round draft pick and Wake Forest's all-time strikeout record holder. Fellow pitchers Donnie Sellers (11th round), Connor Johnstone (21st round) and Griffin Roberts (29th round - did not sign) were also drafted for the first time in their careers, as Johnstone and Roberts also earned All-ACC honors.
Before coming to Wake Forest, Hobbs spent four years as the pitching coach at his alma mater, Missouri in the SEC. During his four years as a Tiger, Hobbs had seven of his pitchers drafted in three seasons and he has guided four players to All-Conference honors.
"Matt is on the cutting edge of developing elite throwers," said head coach Tom Walter. "He has a proven track of velocity improvement and his pitchers will be both mentally and physically tough. With the addition of our player development center and Matt to our coaching staff, all the pieces are in place for Wake Forest to be the next great destination for top-flight arms."
In Missouri's first year in the SEC in 2013, Hobbs helped mentor Rob Zastryzny who was selected with the second pick of the second round in the draft. Hobbs also helped guide pitcher Keaton Steele to All-SEC First Team honors as Steele was the only player in the nation to lead his team in wins, saves and homers at the plate.
The pitching staff in 2013, despite being made up of eight newcomers, ranked among the best in recent Mizzou history with a 3.87 ERA in 50 games. That was the best team mark by a Tiger team since 2006. His three regular starters all had ERAs 3.80 or lower and his staff allowed just 152 walks, third in the league.
In 2012, he mentored starter Zastryzny to honorable mention All-Big 12 honors and closer Dusty Ross to a spot on the All-Big 12 second team.
In 2011, three of his pitchers were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft and he coached All-Big 12 Freshman Team honoree Zastryzny and All-Big 12 honorable mention pick Phil McCormick.
Hobbs spent the 2010 season as the pitching coach at the University of San Francisco, where his staff ranked fourth in the West Coast Conference in ERA and was second in the league in fewest walks per nine innings. Also, Hobbs turned Kyle Zimmer from a third baseman into a pitcher. Hobbs' tutelage and foresight paid off for Zimmer, who was drafted fifth overall in the MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals.
Before USF, Hobbs spent three years as the associate head coach, pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at UC-San Diego. The Tritons made a trip to the Division II College World Series in 2009. They finished that year ranked No. 3 after claiming the school's first ever Regional Championship.
Under Hobbs, UCSD's pitching staff allowed the fewest number of walks per nine innings in D-II in 2009 and ranked 12th nationally with a 3.73 ERA.
Prior to his stint at UC-San Diego, Hobbs spent two seasons as the pitching coach at Santa Barbara City College. In 2006, Hobbs' staff allowed the fewest walks in the Western State Conference, while the 2005 squad led the WSC with a 2.27 ERA. During the summers, Hobbs was the pitching coach for Foresters Baseball, which won the National Baseball Congress World Series in 2006 after finishing runner-up in 2005. Hobbs also served one season as an assistant coach at Chapman University, where he worked with the pitchers and catchers.
Hobbs pitched at Missouri from 1999-2002, where he won 13 games and struck out 125 batters. Hobbs was drafted twice, first by the San Diego Padres in 2001 and then by the Kansas City Royals in 2002.
Hobbs and his wife, Marta, have two daughters, Addison and Taylor, and a son, Will.
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