Demon Deacon Baseball Rallies Past Elon, 9-8
March 8, 2006
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The No. 24 Wake Forest baseball team rallied from a two-run deficit with three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth for a 9-8 victory over Elon Wednesday at Hooks Stadium. The Demon Deacons improve to 12-3 on the season with their 10th straight victory. The 12-3 mark is Wake's best record after 15 games since starting the 2002 season at 13-2.
Trailing 6-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, freshman Allan Dykstra was hit by Phoenix reliever Justin Bors to open the frame. Sophomore Weldon Woodall then yanked his first career home run over the left field wall tying the score at 6-6. Sophomore Brett Linnenkohl launched the ensuing Bors pitch high over the mullberry bushes in right field giving Wake Forest a 7-6 advantage.
The Demon Deacons added what proved to be crucial insurance runs in the bottom of the eight inning. Redshirt sophomore Eric Williams led off the inning with a single. In an almost identical situation as last night against Coastal Carolina, freshman Dustin Hood did not sacrifice bunt. Rather, the shortstop laced an RBI triple into the right-center field gap extending the Deacon lead to 8-6. The Phoenix looked as though they would get out of the inning trailing by just two runs, but Hood scored when Linnenkohl was ruled safe after Vasami mishandled a routine throw from second basemen Donny Jobe.
Niesen quickly retired the first two Elon batters in the ninth, but consecutive errors from junior All-American Matt Antonelli and Hood kept the inning alive for the Phoenix. With runners on second and third, Ryan Addison smacked a two-run double bringing Elon within a run, 9-8, but Niesen retired Jobe on a ground out to end the game with the tying run at second base.
Niesen (1-0) picked up the victory in relief. He tossed 2.2 innings and did not allow an earned run. Niesen struck out two and walked none. Justin Bors was charged with the loss (0-1). He allowed three runs, all earned, on four hits in 3.0 innings.
Hood went 3-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI. Linnenkohl went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a solo home run. Dykstra went 1-for-1 with a run scored and reached base in all five plate appearances with three walks and a hit by pitch. Woodall and Rosaia also added two-run home runs.
The Phoenix grabbed a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. After Wake Forest starting pitcher Andrew Knox cruised through the first two innings, the redshirt sophomore was unable to get out of the third. Patrick Irvine led off with a seeing-eye single and Ryan Addison followed with a walk. Irvine and Addison moved into scoring position on Jobe's sacrifice bunt. After Knox walked his second batter of the inning, Chris Price singled in Irvine for the first run of the inning before Knox balked in Addison giving the Phoenix a 2-0 lead. Junior Sean Souders relieved Knox after he struck out Grant Rembert for the second out of the inning.
Souders entered the game with runners on second and third with two outs, but got Robert Rodebaugh to ground out to end the inning. Souders worked 3.1 innings and limited Elon to just a single run on three hits. The southpaw did walk three, but he also fanned a pair. In his first career start, Knox went 2.2 innings and allowed a pair of earned runs on three hits. He punched out two and walked two. Knox and Souders were each making their first appearances of the 2006 season.
Souders kept the Phoenix off-balance just enough to allow the Deacons to grab a 4-3 lead with a four-run fourth inning. Linnenkohl, who made his first start since Feb. 19 due to an injured hamstring, opened the inning with a single. Linnenkohl advanced into scoring position on Elon starting pitcher Steven Hensley's wild pitch. Rosaia then blasted Hensley's 3-1 offering deep over the wall in right-center field bringing the Deacons within a run, 3-2.
The blast clearly rattled Hensley as the freshman plunked both sophomore Andy Goff and senior Casey Sterk before getting the gate. Bors relieved Hensley and was tagged with a two-run single off the bat of Hood giving Wake Forest a 4-2 lead. Williams executed a perfect sacrifice bunt advancing Goff and Sterk prior to Hood's single.
The Phoenix regained the lead in their half of the seventh inning. Sophomore Greg Young opened the inning with a hit batter and walk. After both runners moved into scoring position on a ground out, Vasami laced a two-run double into the right-center field gap giving the Phoenix a 5-4 lead. Young then issued another walk before exiting the game in favor of Niesen.
Niesen uncorked a wild pitch setting up second and third with still only one out. Elon pushed its lead to 6-4 when Niesen was called for his second balk of the season, but he battled back and retired the next two Elon batters to evade any further damage.
The Demon Deacons return to action this weekend with ACC opener against No. 4 North Carolina. The three-game series opens on Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Hooks Stadium.
-- WakeForestSports.com --