Deacons Beat Elon in the Bottom of the Ninth
April 28, 2004
Winston-Salem, N.C. - Nick Blue's one-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth capped a 5-4 Wake Forest victory against Elon at Hooks Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. The Deacons enter their break for final exams having won five of their last six games and six of their last nine.
Wake Forest led almost the whole game, taking a 2-0 lead into seventh inning when Elon scratched across a run to cut the Deacon lead in half. In the eighth inning, the Phoenix tied the game at two.
But Wake Forest didn't wait long to recapture the lead. In the bottom of the eighth, Matt Antonelli led off with a walk, advanced to second on a Ben Ingold sacrifice bunt. Then, when Antonelli attempted to steal third, the throw went into left field, allowing the freshman third baseman to score easily.
The Deacons went to the bullpen for the ninth with a 3-2 lead. After reliever Daniel Davidson struck out the leadoff hitter on three pitches, Elon's Tyler Stevens doubled into the right field corner. Moments later, he scored to tie the game on a Chris Norwood double into left field. The Phoenix took the lead on an RBI single by Matt Stocco, who had made the costly throwing error in the eighth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Doug Riepe drew a one-out walk from Elon's top starter Matt Garner. Next, Matt Miller singled to put runners on first and second. That prompted an appearance by Elon's closer Adam Acosta. But the Deacon momemtum continued to build as Casey Sterk drew a walk to load the bases with just one one.
Blue drove a 2-1 pitch through the middle to score Riepe from third as the tying run and Miller from second as the game-winning run.
Davidson picked up the victory, his first of the season.
Justin Keadle was turned in another fine outing, pitching eight strong innings. He allowed just two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and only one walk. In front of several major league scouts, Keadle struck out the side in the first and had fanned seven Elon hitters through the first four innings. Three of Elon's five hits were infield singles.
Matt McSwain was almost as good for Elon. He lasted 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on three hits with six strikeouts and three walks. But Garner and Acosta, two of Elon's best pitchers, couldn't hold the lead in the ninth.
The Demon Deacons broke a three-game losing streak to Elon. Wake Forest hadn't defeated the Phoenix since 2002.
Wednesday's game marked the 15th game this season that had been decided by two runs or less. The Deacons had lost eight straight 1-run or 2-run contests since March 7 at Winthrop.
With the win, the Deacons upped their record to 17-24 overall while Elon slipped to 21-23. Wake Forest will be idle for the next 12 days as the student-athletes take final exams. The Deacons return action on May 11 at Elon at 1:00 p.m.