Demon Deacons Suffer 12-8 Setback at Charlotte
March 26, 2008
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Wake Forest was denied in its bid for a second consecutive season series sweep of Charlotte, as the 49ers dropped the Demon Deacons, 12-8, Wednesday evening at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium.
The Deacons fall to 11-11 overall with the loss. The 49ers improve to 18-3 on the season. Wake was looking for its second defeat of Charlotte this season after defeating its in-state rival, 15-12, earlier this month in Winston-Salem.
Charlotte's five-run fourth inning proved to be the difference in the offense-dominated affair on Wednesday. The 49ers scored all five runs in the inning with two outs, erasing the Deacs' early 3-2 lead.
The setback wasted a productive day at the plate for several Deacons, as well as a solid outing from starter Charlie Mellies.
Willy Fox went 3-for-5 with two runs, an RBI and a double, and Andy Goff finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs, a run and a double. Dustin Hood also finished with two hits and two runs, while Evan Ocheltree had two hits and an RBI.
Mellies received a no-decision in his fifth start of the season. Working on a limited pitch count, Mellies went three innings and allowed two runs on three hits. He struck out two and walked one.
Wake Forest took an early 2-0 lead by manufacturing a pair of runs in the top of the first. Ben Terry led off the game with a walk and promptly stole second. Hood followed with an RBI single down the first base line to plate Terry. After a Fox groundout moved Hood to second, Allan Dykstra slapped a single through the right side to drive in Hood.
Charlotte battled back to tie the score with two runs in the second inning. Alan Parks reached on a one-out walk. After Mellies recorded the second out, Alex Burt dumped a bloop single into rightfield for the 49ers' first hit of the game. Rob Lyerly followed with a softly-hit, but well-placed, double to left field to score both runners.
The Deacons quickly reclaimed the lead with a run in the third. Fox hit a one-double, and Dykstra followed with a walk. After Fox and Dykstra stole second and third respectively, Weldon Woodall drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to deep left.
The 49ers took their first lead of the night with a two-out rally in the fourth off reliever Joel Ernst. After Ernst retired the first two batters of the inning, Charlotte plated five runs with six straight hits. Ryan McGrath came on to get the third out and end the rally.
Wake was able to get two of the runs back in the top of the fifth. Fox led off with a single, and Dykstra was then walked. One out later, Goff laced a single to right center to score Fox. Evan Ocheltree followed with a single to left, scoring Dykstra and cutting the deficit to 7-5.
Charlotte added to its lead with three runs in the sixth. Corey Shaylor and Aaron Bray started the rally with a single and a walk. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, Brad McElroy drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Chris Taylor followed with a home run to left center to push the 49ers' lead to 10-5.
The Deacs scored two in the seventh to pull within 10-7. Dykstra was hit by a pitch from reliever Michael Maples. After Woodall moved him up a base on a groundout, Goff laced a double to left to drive in Dykstra. An Ocheltree groundout moved Goff to third, and Austin Jones followed with an infield single to drive the runner in.
The 49ers quickly responded with a run in the bottom half of the seventh. Lyerly drove a 2-0 pitch from Phil Negus to left center for a solo home run.
Wake Forest plated one run in the top of the eighth. Hood reached on a one-out single up the middle and then took second on a wild pitch. Fox slapped a single into left to drive in Hood.
Charlotte added an insurance run off Brad Kledzik in the ninth. The 49ers loaded the bases with a single and two walks. Justin Wilson followed with an RBI groundout to bring the Charlotte lead to 12-8.
The Deacons put one runner on in the ninth but could not piece together a rally.
Ernst (1-1) took the loss, giving up five runs on six hits in 2/3 innings.
McGrath and Negus each pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief and each surrendered two runs on three hits.
Kledzik surrendered one run on one hit in his inning of relief.
Mellies, who usually handles the starting duties in Sunday games, was making a mid-week start after an abbreviated outing in last Sunday's rain-shortened affair in Miami. Tonight was Mellies' third career mid-week start and his first since Feb. 22, 2005, against Appalachian State.
Charlotte reliever Bryan Hamilton (2-1) picked up the win with two innings of work. The righthander gave up two runs on three hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
49er starter Kelly McLain received a no-decision. McLain went four innings, allowing three runs on four hits. He struck out three and walked three.
Sam Pierce earned his first save of the season with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Lyerly led Charlotte at the plate, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored. McElroy drove in three runs, while Taylor finished with two RBIs.
The Deacons left 10 runners on base, marking their second straight game leaving 10+ men stranded. Wake left 11 runners on against UNC Asheville on Tuesday.
Tyler Smith had a 12-pitch at-bat in the second inning. He fouled off eight straight pitches before being hit in the side with the next one.
Wake Forest and Charlotte split the two-game season series, with each winning at home. The Deacons picked up a 15-12 win earlier this month in Winston-Salem, rallying back from an early 10-1 deficit.
Wake returns to action this weekend with a three-game series against ACC-rival Florida State. The Deacons and Seminoles will meet at 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.