Baseball Downs Illinois, 14-12 in NCAA Regional Action
May 21, 1998

GAINESVILLE, FL - Wake Forest used a seven-run ninth inning rally, highlighted by a game-winning grand slam from freshman Carlos Brackley, to come from behind and defeat Illinois, 14-12, in the first found of the NCAA South I Regional at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. With the victory, the second-seeded Demon Deacons improve their record to 42-21 while the fifth-seeded Illini fall to 39-20. Wake Forest advances in the winners' bracket and will face Richmond, who defeated Baylor 12-10 earlier in the day, on Friday at 7 p.m. Illinois will face the loser of Thursday night's game between No. 1 seed Florida and No. 6 seed Monmouth on Friday at 11 a.m.

Trailing 12-7 and entering the bottom of the ninth inning, Wake Forest mounted its furious rally. Jon Palmieri led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on Corey Slavik's single. The Deacs loaded the bases with no outs with a walk from Josh Otten. Danny Borell, Andrew Riepe and Jason Aquilante all delivered RBI singles to cut the lead to 12-10 and keep the bases loaded. Carlos Brackley then delivered a game-winning, pinch-hit home run, the first of his career, to give Wake Forest the 14-12 victory. The Demon Deacons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, scoring on RBI groundouts from Jon Palmieri and Corey Slavik. Palmieri's RBI was his 78th of the year, a new Wake Forest single season record. Palmieri now holds school records in RBI, hits and doubles. Illinois responded with a single run in the second and then three runs apiece in the third and fourth innings. The Illini added two more runs in the fifth to chase Wake Forest starter John Hendricks from the game. Hendricks allowed a season-high 15 hits and nine runs, eight of which were earned, in 4.2 innings, snapping a streak of 10 consecutive complete games. Wake Forest cut the lead to 9-6 in the seventh on a three run home run by Slavik, his seventh of the season. Slavik finished the afternoon 2-for-5 with a double, homer and four RBI.

The Deacs added another run in the eighth on a Illinois error to trim the margin to 9-7, but Illinois responded with three insurance runs in the top of the ninth to stretch the lead to 12-7 before Wake Forest's dramitic rally in the bottom of the ninth.

Wake Forest's Jeremy Ward (10-9) picked up the win after tossing the top of the ninth and became only the sixth player in school history to win at least 10 games in a season. Illinois' Tom Zidlicky (6-5) took the loss. #######



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