Wake Forest split a doubleheader with Virginia Tech on April 21, 2012.
Walter on Spezial
"I am as proud of Niko as anyone I have ever coached. From his freshman year to now he has transformed himself into a very talented young man. He will be a go-to guy out of our bullpen with the game on the line and close for us."
Led the team with 23 appearances on the mound, all in relief ... Following the season, was taken in the MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals in the 19th Round with the 586th overall pick ... Had the best ERA out of the bullpen, as well, at 2.83 in 28.2 innings ... Was nearly perfect with a 6-1 record, winning his first six decisions of the season ... Did not allow a run in 19 of his 23 appearances ... Had an 11-game stretch from April 8 - May 12 without giving up a run ... During that time, he pitched 13.2 innings, struck out nine batters, held opponents to a .191 average and posted a 5-0 record ... Went his first three and seven of his first eight outings without giving up a run ... Struck out two batters in a game on six occasions ... Ended the year with 22 strikeouts and 13 walks ... Earned wins vs. UNCG (Apr. 2), at High Point (Apr. 9), at UNCG (Apr. 16), vs. Elon (Apr. 30) and vs. Miami (May 11, May 12) ... Held opponents to a .231 average on the season ... Ended his career with 80 appearances, which is the ninth most in school history (as of the 2013 season).
2012 (Junior) Made 17 appearances and pitched 21.2 innings ... All but one of his appearances came out of the bullpen ... Finished the year with a 2-0 record and a 5.40 ERA ... Had 14 strikeouts and 14 walks on the year ... Struck out two batters vs. Georgia Southern (3/13) and vs. Florida State (3/25) ... Went a season-high 2.0 innings on six different occasions ... Did not allow a run in four of those six two-inning outings ... Has at least one strikeout in 12 of his 17 appearances.
2011 (Sophomore) Tied for the team-lead with 28 appearances on the season, the most among any Demon Deacon lefty ... Pitched 30.1 innings and recorded a 1-1 record with 19 strikeouts and a 5.34 ERA ... All of his appearances were out of the bullpen ... Turned in a season-best three strikeouts against Virginia Tech on April 10 ... Pitched a season-high 2.2 innings against Winthrop on April 19 without giving up a run and only surrendering one base hit ... Also struck out two Eagles en route to earning his only win of the season ... Went four straight appearances from March 22 to April 2 without giving up an earned run ... Turned in 16 total appearances without giving up an earned run ... Did not allow a home run on the year ... At the completion of Wake's season, was tied for fifth in total appearances (28).
Finished the year with a 1-4 record and a 4.43 ERA in 12 appearances, including one start ... Made collegiate debut as a starter against Dayton (2.21) and received the loss, giving up five runs, only two of which were earned, on four hits in 3.2 innings pitched. Struck out two and walked three against the Flyers ... Earned first collegiate win in series finale against Xavier (3.6), tossing two scoreless innings and allowing two hits and one walk ... Pitched a perfect 1.1 innings with a strikeout in relief appearance against NC State (3.20) ... Threw a perfect inning of relief at High Point (3.24) with two strikeouts ... Tossed 2.1 scoreless innings against Charlotte (3.30), giving up two hits and three walks ... Did not allow a run in 0.2 of an inning against Appalachian State (5.18) ... Threw two perfect innings against Maryland (5.21) and struck out four of the six batters he faced.
Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 32nd round of the 2009 MLB Draft ... Three-year letter winner for the Don Bosco Prep baseball team ... Posted a career record of 15-1 with a 1.24 ERA while in high school ... Earned first team All-State, All-County and All-League honors ... Recruiting service Perfect Game ranked Spezial No. 272 in the class of 2009 ... Helped his team to a national championship in 2008 ... Played in the Perfect Game National Showcase in St. Paul, Minn. ... Pitched in the East Coast Pro showcase in Lakeland, Fla., and went 1-0 with two saves.
Born November 1, 1990 ... Son of Ron and Delphine Spezial.