No. 24 Demon Deacon Baseball Cuts Down No. 4 North Carolina, 6-5
March 10, 2006
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. --- The No. 24 Wake Forest baseball team trailed on three different occasions, but battled back each time and held off No. 4 North Carolina, 6-5, in the ACC opener for both teams Friday afternoon at Hooks Stadium.
The Demon Deacons (13-3, 1-0 ACC) entered the bottom of the eighth inning trailing by two runs, 5-4, but freshman Allan Dykstra sparked the Wake Forest rally. The first basemen opened the eighth with a single -- his third hit of the afternoon. Dykstra then scampered to third base when sophomore Brett Linnenkohl followed with a single. With runners on the corners and no outs, redshirt junior Brendan Enick snuck an 0-2 pitch just through the infield scoring Dykstra.
With the score tied, 5-5, redshirt junior Dan Rosaia advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Andy Goff and senior Casey Sterk would follow with back-to-back walks giving Wake Forest a 6-5 lead.
The Deacons were unable to increase the 6-5 lead and turned it over to sophomore closer Ben Hunter. The right-hander fanned Tim Federowicz for the first out of the inning, but Bryan Steed singled and pinch runner Mike Cavasinni then stole second. With the tying run in scoring position, Hunter walked Reid Fronk -- his first free pass since Feb. 24 against Ohio State -- putting runners on first and second, but he retired the next two Carolina batters to register his fifth save of the season.
Hunter continues to excel from the back of the Wake Forest bullpen. He extended his scoreless inning streak to 13.1 and has allowed just two hits over his last 8.2 innings of work. Hunter is a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities.
Junior Josh Ellis (2-2) picked up the victory, despite surrendering the Wake Forest lead. Matt Danford (0-1) was charged with the loss. He went 0.1 innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits.
Dykstra went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while junior All-American Matt Antonelli and Linnenkohl each went 2-for-4. Antonelli scored a pair of runs and drove in one, while Linnenkohl had two RBI.
The Tar Heels (11-2, 0-1 ACC) grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning off Wake Forest starting pitcher Justin Keadle. Fronk opened the game with a double down the left field line. After Keadle got a ground out, Josh Horton hammered Keadle's 1-1 offering for a two-run home run. The blast was Horton's first of the season.
Wake Forest answered back in their half of the first inning. After North Carolina starter Robert Woodard retired the first two Demon Deacons of the inning, Antonelli and Dykstra laced back-to-back singles. Linnenkohl followed with a two-run double just inside the left field line tying the score, 2-2.
Keadle was hurt by the long ball again in the top of the second inning. With the wind blowing out at gusts of 15-20 miles per hour, Federowicz took Keadle over the center field wall giving the Tar Heels a 3-2 lead.
While the redshirt senior was not at his sharpest, he did keep Wake Forest in the game. Keadle would hold Carolina off the scoreboard over the next two innings. He limited the Tar Heels to three earned runs on four hits over 4.0 innings and did not render in the decision. He struck out three and walked just one.
The Demon Deacons regained the lead for the second time of the afternoon with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning -- once again with two outs and once again it was Antonelli and Dykstra. Antonelli also benefitted from the strong winds with a solo home run just over the center field wall tying the score, 3-3. The blast was Antonelli's sixth of the season. The third basemen had five all of last season.
Dykstra followed Antonelli's homer with a double and raced around to score when Steed was unable to handle a ground ball from Linnenkohl at second base giving the Deacons a 4-3 lead.
Senior Kyle Young relieved Keadle and was dynamite over the next three innings. The right-hander retired 10 of the 13 Tar Heels he faced -- allowing just one hit. Young, who did not allow an earned run over 6.1 innings in the 2005 ACC Tournament victory with North Carolina, went 3.1 innings. After Young issued a one out walk to Chad Flack, sophomore Eric Niesen was summoned from the Deacon bullpen. Niesen promptly got Jay Cox to fly out.
With two outs, the Deacons went to the bullpen again and called on Ellis, but the right-handed hurler's first pitch to Matt Spencer was belted deep over the right field wall for a two-run home run giving the Tar Heels a 5-4 advantage.
Wake Forest returns to action tomorrow afternoon with the second game of the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. Freshman Brad Kledzik will take the hill for the Demon Deacons.
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