Rodriguez Delivers Walk Off in 8-7 Win over GWU
March 13, 2013
By Steven Wright, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeBaseball)
SHELBY, N.C. - Joey Rodriguez laced a bases-loaded single into left field in the bottom of the ninth to score Mark Rhine from third base and give Wake Forest an 8-7 walk-off win over Gardner-Webb on Wednesday night at Keeter Stadium.
The win puts the Demon Deacons three games over .500 at 11-8 on the season, while the Bulldogs are now 11-5-1.
After Gardner-Webb scored two unearned runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 7-7, Rhine led off the bottom of the inning by drawing a walk. Conor Keniry then singled through the middle, and Charlie Morgan laid down a bunt single to load the bases. Two batters later, Rodriguez nearly won the game on the first pitch of the at bat, but the ball went a few inches foul in left field. He then swung through a pitch before roping a single into left field on an 0-2 pitch.
Rodriguez also recorded his first-career three-hit day at Wake Forest, going 3-for-6 with two RBIs and a run scored. Pat Blair went 1-for-1 and reached base four times with three walks, while Brett Armour went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Jack Fischer recorded his first win of the season to move to 1-3, while Jeff Howell (1-1) suffered the loss. Connor Kaden pitched fantastically in middle relief, going three innings, retiring all eight batters he faced and picking off an inherited base runner. Kaden also entered the game with the Deacs down 5-4 and kept the deficit there before leaving with a 6-5 advantage.
After Matt Conway sat Gardner-Webb down in order in the top of the first, the Demon Deacons jumped out on top in the bottom of the first with four runs. Evan Stephens drew a leadoff walk and came home one batter later on a double to left center by Rodriguez. Blair moved Rodriguez to third with a sacrifice bunt, and Conway would bring home Rodriguez on a ground ball that was booted by the shortstop. Jack Carey followed a monster shot over the center field wall to make the score 4-0. The home run was his third of the season.
The Bulldogs tied the game right away with a four spot in the top of the second, thanks in large part to a solo home run by Henry Rundio and a two-run double by Benji Jackson.
The Demon Deacons had a chance to retake the lead in the bottom of the fourth but stranded the bases loaded. Conway hit a ball squarely but got a bit unlucky as the ball was right at the Gardner-Webb third baseman.
Gardner-Webb took the lead in the top of the fifth before Kaden entered the game and silenced the Bulldog bats.
The Deacs then took the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh. After three consecutive walks by Blair, Conway and Carey, Armour hit a sacrifice fly and Rhine singled through the left side to make the score 6-5.
Blair then singled and scored an insurance run on an error in the eighth to make the score 7-5 before the ninth-inning excitement.
Wake Forest will return to conference play this weekend when NC State comes to Winston-Salem for a three-game series at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park. Game times are 6 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.