Sheets' Walk-off Lifts Deacs Past Mountaineers
June 3, 2017

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By Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeBaseball)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Gavin Sheets' walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth lifted No. 13-ranked Wake Forest to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over West Virginia on Saturday (June 3) on the second day of the Winston-Salem NCAA Regional.

After erasing a three-run deficit, the Demon Deacons (41-18) entered the ninth inning tied with West Virginia (35-25). Jonathan Pryor opened the frame with a leadoff single to right and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jake Mueller. Stuart Fairchild was intentionally walked, setting up the stage for Sheets, who delivered an RBI-single off the right-field wall to drive home Pryor from second.

Griffin Roberts (2-4) earned the win with 2.0 shutout innings in relief, striking out four in the eighth and ninth innings to keep the Deacs in the game.

Wake Forest was forced to come back against the Mountaineers, as the visitors struck first with three runs in the first inning. A leadoff double and an RBI-single opened the scoring before a two-run shot from Jackson Cramer pushed the WVU advantage to 3-0.

The Demon Deacons tried to cut into the Mountaineer lead with a two-out rally in the fourth. Fairchild walked with two outs before stealing second base. Sheets then reached first base after being hit by pitch, but a long flyout from Ben Breazeale ended the threat.

After being limited to just one hit through the first four innings, a leadoff double from Johnny Aiello in the bottom of the fifth set the table for a two-run home run from Bruce Steel one batter later. For Steel, it was his 13th long ball of the year and his 37th and 38th RBIs of the season.

On the mound, Parker Dunshee rebounded from a slow start in the first inning, as the senior retired 17 of the final 19 batters he faced and only allowed three hits from the second inning on. Dunshee finished with five strikeouts and only one walk allowed over seven innings while earning a no decision.

The Deacs then tied things up in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out RBI double off the left-field wall by Pryor. After the first two batters were retired, Logan Harvey walked and came all the way around to score from first on the Pryor base hit. A pair of walks loaded the bases, but the Deacs were unable to take their first lead of the game.

Wake Forest once again loaded the bases in the eighth inning but West Virginia escaped to send the game to the ninth, tied at 3-all, setting the stage for Sheets' heroics.

The Demon Deacons await their opponent for Sunday evening, as third-seeded Maryland and second-seeded West Virginia will play an elimination game at noon on Sunday. The winner of that contest will turn around and face the Deacs at 5 p.m. Sunday evening, with Wake Forest having the opportunity to punch its ticket to the Super Regional with a victory.

Dunshee Tops 100 Ks
Parker Dunshee recorded five strikeouts on the night to give the senior 103 for the season.
• It is the second consecutive season in which Dunshee has struck out 100 or more batters after punching out 102 a season ago.
• The 103 strikeouts move Dunshee into seventh place on the single-season strikeout list.
• He is just the second Deacon to accomplish the feat twice, joining Kyle Sleeth (113 in 2002 and 102 in 2003).

Deacs Hit the Long Ball
• The Deacs extended their program record for home runs in a season to 97 with Steel's homer in the fifth.
• Wake Forest sits one home run off the national lead for home runs this season. Tennessee Tech holds the DI lead with 99, including two Saturday in their regional game against Auburn.

2 and 0
• Saturday night's win over West Virginia moved the Deacs to 2-0 to open regional play.
• The last time Wake Forest began a regional 2-0 was in 1999. Playing host to the Winston-Salem Regional that season, the Deacs opened play with a 22-4 win over Siena and a 12-1 victory over Richmond.
• Wake Forest went on to win the regional to advance to the Coral Gables Super Regional.

Fans Pack the Couch...Again
• After 2,743 fans attended the Demon Deacons' game Friday evening, 3,018 fans packed into David F. Couch Ballpark Saturday evening.
• It is the highest-attended game since the Deacs moved into the ballpark permanently in 2009, topping last night's mark.