Deacons Rally with Five in Ninth for 5-4 Win Over Gardner-Webb
March 6, 2007
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Willy Fox's two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning completed an improbable five-run Wake Forest rally that gave the Demon Deacons a 5-4 walk-off win over Gardner-Webb Tuesday afternoon at Hooks Stadium.
The Bulldog pitching staff had limited the Demon Deacon offense to just three hits through the first eight innings. But all of that changed when the ninth rolled around. Trailing 4-0, Wake scored five runs in the frame to pick up its fourth win in its last at-bat of the season.
One batter later, Allan Dykstra cut the deficit to 4-3 with a sacrifice fly to center, setting the stage for Fox. Fox responded with a two-out, two-strike double down the left field line. Smith scored the tying run, and Linnenkohl came all the way around from first to score the game-winner.
"I got a fastball. I was just trying to get it to the next guy," said Fox. "It felt good off the bat, and you never know down the line."
Prior to the ninth-inning rally, not one Deacon baserunner had made it past second base, and only four had even made it that far.
Gardner-Webb reliever Wes Cogdill shut down Wake Forest for 5 1/3 innings before finally giving way in the ninth. Cogdill was charged with three of the runs and allowed four hits on the day.
The comeback win would likely not have happened if not for the solid relief outing from Matt Hammond. Hammond (1-0) pitched a scoreless three innings, allowing two hits and striking out two batters.
Wake starter Joel Ernst went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits. Ernst walked four and struck out two Bulldog batters.
Kirby Wedekind allowed an earned run his 2/3 innings of work.
"I think a lot of it stems from confidence in our pitching staff," said Linnenkohl of the team's penchant for late-inning comebacks. "We know no matter what, we're in it. When the ninth inning rolls around, we turn the Bunsen burners on."
"It would be nice to turn it on a little earlier than the ninth," said Fox. "But it's nice to win like that. We battle. We stay on it and don't give up."
Gardner-Webb scored a pair of runs in each the first and sixth innings to take a 4-0 lead. In the first, a single and double plated two runners who had reached base on back-to-back one-out walks from Ernst. In the sixth, the Bulldogs used three hits and a walk to score a run each off Ernst and Wedekind.
Webster Beal (1-3) took the loss for GWU. Beal allowed two hits and gave up just the game-winning run.
Wake Forest moves to 8-4 overall with the win. Gardner-Webb drops to 7-9 on the year.
Wake returns to action tomorrow when it hosts Triad-rival High Point at 2:30 p.m. The Deacon's LHP Alex Wiesner (0-0, 8.31) will match up against the Panthers' LHP Brandon Moore (0-0, 9.00).