Armour's Eighth Inning Homer Powers Deacs Past Hokies, 8-6
April 21, 2012
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Brett Armour launched a solo home run over the left field wall to score the go-ahead run for Wake Forest as the Deacs claimed the series over Virginia Tech with an 8-6 victory in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park.
The win pushes the Deacs' record to 25-16 on the season (9-12 Atlantic Coast Conference) while Virginia Tech drops to 27-15 (8-13 ACC). Wake Forest has been dominant at home this season, improving to a record of 20-5 when playing at Gene Hooks Field.
Senior closer Michael Dimock earned the win for Wake Forest to improve to 2-2 on the season, while Jake Joyce took the loss for Virginia Tech. Dimock allowed just one hit, no runs and recorded two key strikeouts over 2.1 innings of work.
Mac Williamson went 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run, a double, a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. The Wake Forest, N.C., native enjoyed one of his best offensive performances of the season in the series against the Hokies, going 5-for-11 at the plate with a pair of home runs, four RBIs and five runs scored in three games.
Armour went 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and a pair of RBIs, while Carlos Lopez went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles, an RBI, and a run scored.
Justin Van Grouw started the game on the mound for Wake Forest, retiring the side in the first inning before the Deacs got on the board in the bottom of the inning. Pat Blair drew a leadoff walk and two batters later, Williamson blasted a two-run homer over the left field wall to give Wake Forest the early 2-0 advantage.
The ACC-leading 13th home run of his season marked a new single-season record for Williamson, as he recorded 12 homers during the 2011 season. It also marks the most home runs for a Wake Forest player in a single season since Allan Dykstra hit 16 back in 2008.
Van Grouw continued his impressive performance in the second, retiring all three batters in order, including a strikeout.
With runners on second and third and no outs in the top of the third inning, Kyle Wernicki laid down a sacrifice bunt, forcing Mark Rhine to make a stellar defensive play as he charged the ball from third and fired down to first in time to prevent any runs from scoring.
The Hokies would go on to score six runs later that inning to take a 6-2 lead, but Wake Forest would respond with three runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Keniry led off the third with a single up the middle, and Williamson followed by drawing a walk. Lopez then roped a double into left field to plate Keniry and move Williamson over to third base.
Morgan entered the game to pinch hit in the five hole, and he launched a sacrifice fly deep to center field that allowed Williamson to tag up and score from third. Armour followed with a sacrifice fly of his own to left center that plated Lopez and pulled the Deacs within a run at 6-5.
Niko Spezial entered the game in relief for the Deacs in the fourth inning and made quick work of the Hokie lineup as he struck out Chad Pinder and two batters later got Kyle Wernicki to pop out to shallow right for the second out of the inning. Armour ended the inning with a beautiful throw from behind the plate down to Keniry at second to catch Brendon Haydon trying to steal.
Stephens tied the game up for Wake Forest in the fourth inning with a solo home run to left center field for his second home run of the season and first to leave the yard. Stephens recorded an inside-the-park home run earlier this year in a 14-4 win against Georgia Southern on March 13.
Spezial pitched out of a jam in the fifth inning, getting Ronnie Shaban to fly out to center field with the bases loaded to end the inning without any runs scoring. John McLeod also came up huge for the Deacs on the mound in the sixth inning, getting Andrew Rash to ground into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning with no runs scored.
Neither team scored in the seventh inning, and the Hokies threatened in the eighth with a runner on third and one out, but Keniry cleanly fielded a chopper down at second and fired home to Armour who put the tag on Brendon Hayden for the out. Dimock then got Rash to ground out to the mound to get out of the inning.
Armour then gave the Deacs the offensive spark that they needed in the bottom of the eighth, sending a 2-0 pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run that put the Deacs on top, 7-6.
Two batters later, Shambley doubled to right center and two consecutive wild pitches allowed him to advance home to score and give Wake Forest a two-run lead at 8-6.
Dimock then retired the side in the ninth inning, including a pair of strikeouts, to preserve the win for Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Rock Hill, S.C., to take on Winthrop in a 6 p.m. contest. The Deacs then hit the road next weekend as they travel to Boston College to play a three-game series against the Eagles.