Wake Forest Takes Down No. 15 Coastal Carolina, 8-7
April 23, 2008
CONWAY, S.C. - Allan Dykstra hit his 12th home run of the season and Wake Forest held off a furious ninth-inning rally to pick up an 8-7 defeat of No. 15-ranked Coastal Carolina Wednesday evening at Watson Stadium.
With the win, the Demon Deacons move to 16-25 overall. The Chanticleers, who had their 10-game winning streak snapped, drop to 34-8 on the year.
Dykstra staked the Deacons to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with his second homer in as many night. After Coastal countered with a run in the bottom of the first, the Wake pitching staff held the Chants with just one run over the next seven innings.
Trailing 8-2 heading into the ninth inning, Coastal put together a furious two-out rally that ultimately came up short. After Brad Kledzik retired the first two hitters in order, the next seven hitters reached base to pull the Chanticleers to within one. With the tying run on third and the winning run on second, Kledzik struck out Rico Noel to end the game.
Phil Negus (4-2) picked up the win with a solid relief outing. The sophomore righthander pitched three innings, allowing one run on two hits. He struck out two and walked just one.
Starter Ryan McGrath received a no-decision with four innings of work. The freshman lefty, who left the game with a 3-1 lead, pitched in and out of trouble all night. He gave up one run on just two hits but walked eight and hit a batter. However, McGrath proved effective when it counted most. He stranded seven Chanticleers over his four innings of work and got an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the second.
Kledzik pitched the final two innings but did not record a save after entering the game with the Deacons leading by four, 6-2.
Dykstra, Willy Fox and Dustin Hood led the offense. Dykstra went 2-for-2 with three RBIs, two runs and a pair of walks. Fox was 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI, while Hood finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run.
Mike Murray saw his career-best 13-game hitting streak come to an end after finishing the night 0-for-5. The streak stands as the longest by a Deacon this season.
Wake Forest jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, courtesy of Dykstra's home run. After Fox reached on a one-out single, Dykstra slapped a 2-1 pitch from Coastal starter Austin Fleet to leftfield for a two-run homer. The shot was Dykstra's 12th of the season and his fourth in the last six games.
Coastal Carolina cut the deficit in half with a run in its half of the first. Scott Woodward reached on a leadoff walk and then moved to third on a hit-and-run single from David Sappelt. Woodward scored on an ensuing flyout from Dock Doyle, but Sappelt was called out on the play after not touching second base when attempting to run back to first base.
The Chanticleers threatened again in the second, loading the bases with one out against McGrath. However, McGrath was able to get Sappelt to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play without a single run coming across.
The Deacons added a run in the fifth. After Ben Terry and Dykstra reached on walks, Hood dumped a two-out single into center to drive in Terry and give Wake a 3-1 advantage.
Wake Forest pushed another run across against reliever Jeremiah Meiners in the sixth. Austin Jones and Nathan Frazier each singled to put two runners on. Fox came through with a two-out single to left center, driving in Jones. Meiners then hit Dykstra to load the bases but got a lineout to end the inning.
Coastal Carolina broke a five-inning scoreless drought with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Woodward hit a 3-1 pitch from Negus to right center for a solo home run, cutting Wake's lead to 4-2. David Anderson almost gave the Chanticleers another solo shot in the inning, hitting a towering fly ball to left center, but Fox made the catch just in front of the wall to end the inning.
The Deacs countered with a pair of runs in the eighth. Fox reached on a two-out single, and Dykstra followed with an RBI double to right center. Dykstra also took third on the play when the Chanticleers threw home to try to get Fox. That hustle play would prove to be key, as Dykstra came in to score when Matt Rein uncorked a wild pitch.
Wake Forest added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth. Hood led off with a single, and Andy Goff and Jones followed with walks to load the bases. Evan Ocheltree followed by grounding into a double play, but Hood was able to score on the play. Frazier then reached on a throwing error, allowing Goff to plate another run and give the visitors an 8-2 advantage.
Coastal Carolina did not go quietly in the ninth, plating five runs with a two-out rally. After Kledzik quickly retired the first two batters, Sappelt launched a 2-1 pitch to left center for a solo home run. Doyle followed with a single up the middle, and Anderson walked to put two runners on. Tommy Baldridge followed with a double to plate Doyle. A walk to Rice loaded the bases and brought the tying run to the plate.
Tyler Bortnick then hit the first he saw up the middle to drive in two. Chance Gilmore followed with a double into the leftfield corner to bring in another run. With Wake Forest clinging to an 8-7 lead and runners at second and third, Kledzik came through with a strikeout of Noel to end the game.
Fleet (3-2) suffered the loss for Coastal Carolina. The righthander went five innings, allowing three runs on four hits with five walks and two strikeouts. Four Chanticleer relievers combined to allow five runs on seven hits.
Defensively for the Deacs, Ocheltree made a nice diving catch on a fading line drive off the bat of Chance Gilmore to start the fourth. The rightfielder came racing in on the ball and dove to make the catch in front of him.
Dykstra's home run was the 45th of his career, tying him with Bill Merrifield (1981-83) for sixth place on Wake Forest's career list.
Wake Forest is back in action this weekend with a three-game series at Georgia Tech. The series begins on Friday when Deacon LHP Garrett Bullock (1-5, 5.77) matches up against Yellow Jacket LHP David Duncan (4-2, 4.21). Friday's game will be broadcast live on SportSouth and on the radio at 98.1 FM WBRF. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.