Williamson's Grand Slam Powers Deacs Past UMBC, 10-2
Feb. 24, 2012
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The Wake Forest baseball team played their second home contest of the season Friday evening against UMBC at Gene Hooks Field, defeating the Retrievers 10-2 behind a third-inning grand slam from Mac Williamson.
Junior Justin Van Grouw earned the win for the Deacs in his first start of the season, while southpaw Luke DiBlasi picked up the loss for the Retrievers. With the win, Wake Forest improves to 2-4 on the year while UMBC drops to 0-2.
Van Grouw pitched a career-best seven innings on the night, while tying a career-high with five strikeouts.
Redshirt-freshman Grant Shambley picked up two hits in his first career outing, while Williamson picked up three hits in four at bats, earning four RBIs and scoring two runs.
The Deacs totaled 10 hits on the evening in a game that lasted just under two and a half hours.
Wake Forest got on the scoreboard first, picking up a run in the bottom of the second. Carlos Lopez led off the inning with a base hit up the middle, and two batters later, James Harris drew a walk to move Lopez to second.
Freshman Joe Napolitano came up to the plate next, and a passed ball allowed the runners to advance to second and third. A sacrifice fly into right field by Napolitano on the next pitch allowed Lopez to tag up from third and put the Deacs in front 1-0.
Wake Forest struck again in the third inning, as Shambley drew a walk after a nine-pitch at bat. Leadoff hitter Pat Blair followed by drawing a walk of his own, and Mark Rhine followed with a bunt down the third base line. Rhine beat out the throw to load the bases and set the stage for Williamson's grand slam that put the Deacs in front 5-0.
Williamson sent the ball over the left center field wall, giving him his second career grand slam and 20th home run as a Demon Deacon. Williamson becomes the first Deacon to hit a home run this season, and he was also the last Wake Forest player to hit a grand slam, doing so in a 7-1 victory over Charlotte last season.
UMBC scored their first run of the game in the fourth inning, as Van Grouw struck out the first batter before giving up a one-out home run to Max Himmelstein. After allowing another single one batter later, Van Grouw struck out the next two batters to end the inning with the Deacs maintaining a 5-1 lead.
Brett Armour led off the bottom of the fourth for the Deacs with a single down the left side, and Shambley followed with his first base hit of the game, a bunt down the first base line. Blair then doubled into left to bring home Armour and advance Shambley to third, and a hard grounder by Rhine to third base allowed Shambley to come home and extend the Deacons' lead to 7-1.
Williamson then sharply lined a ball into left for a base hit, advancing Blair to third. The Retrievers changed pitchers following the play, bringing in righty Steve Miller in relief. Lopez reached first base to load the bases, and Jack Carey drew a walk on the ensuing at bat to bring Blair home and give the Deacs an 8-1 advantage.
After Van Grouw retired the first three batters he faced in the top of the sixth, the Demon Deacon offense scored one more run in the bottom of the inning. Charlie Morgan entered the game for the first time of the night as a pinch hitter with Williamson on first, and an error on a throw over to first by Miller allowed Williamson to move into scoring position on third base.
Morgan followed on the next pitch with a sacrifice fly to shallow center that brought Williamson home and extend the Deacons' lead to 9-1.
Van Grouw then retired each of the three batters he faced in the top of the seventh to complete his night on the mound.
Redshirt freshman Chris Willson entered the game in the eighth inning as a relief pitcher for the Deacs, allowing two runners on base but no runs scored in the top half of the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Shambley picked up his second hit of the night after beating out an infield grounder.
Sophomore Evan Stevens' single up the middle several batters later brought Shambley home with two outs to give the Deacs their 10th and final run of the game.
The Retrievers put up one more run on the board in the bottom of the inning, before Willson closed the door on UMBC.
The Deacs continue play in the Wake Forest Invitational presented by Hilton Garden Inn Winston-Salem/Hanes Mall tomorrow when they face Cincinnati at 4 p.m. Georgetown will face UMBC at noon in the first game of the day. The Hoyas defeated both UMBC and Cincinnati earlier Friday afternoon.
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