SUPER REGIONAL BOUND! No. 13 Deacs Win Regional
June 4, 2017

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By Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeBaseball)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - No. 13 Wake Forest advanced to the NCAA Super Regional for the first time since 1999 on Sunday evening (June 4) with a 12-8 victory over West Virginia at David F. Couch Ballpark.

Hosting a regional for the third time in program history and first since 2002, the Demon Deacons (42-18) join the 1999 squad, which hosted a regional that year, in advancing to a Super Regional.

The Demon Deacons shined offensively, pounding out 12 runs on 16 hits, including three home runs. Two of the three longballs were hit by Stuart Fairchild, who ended the day with six RBIs, one shy of his career-high as well as the program record for most RBI in an NCAA Tournament game.

Jake Mueller matched a career-high in hits, going 4-for-6 and Ben Breazeale added a home run of his own while driving in three. Johnny Aiello went 3-for-5 at the plate and drove in a run.

Colin Peluse earned the victory after coming on in relief to throw 3.1 innings of two-hit baseball, while striking out three and allowing two runs. After Wake Forest surrendered six runs over the first four innings, Peluse retired the first nine batters he faced to settle the game.

The start of Wake Forest's quest for its second Super Regional berth in program history was temporarily put on hold, as rain in the area delayed the start of the game between the Demon Deacons (42-18) and Mountaineers (36-26) by two hours.

In a rematch of Saturday's winner's bracket contest between the two schools, both offenses traded shots during the first half of the game, combining for 18 runs on 22 hits through the first five innings of play.

The Deacons, who served as the visiting team Sunday, opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first. RBI singles from Breazeale and Aiello brought in Mueller and Gavin Sheets to give Wake Forest an early 2-0 lead.

The Mountaineers got a run back in the bottom half of the frame, and threatened to score more after loading the bases, but Donnie Sellers got WVU's Braden Zarbnisky to fly out to right to end the scoring chance. Sellers finished the day with a no-decision, going 4.0 innings and striking out four Mountaineers in the process.

The Demon Deacons' bats remained hot, plating two more runs in the second. Bruce Steel led off the inning with a double before being brought in on an RBI single from Logan Harvey. Harvey was sacrificed over to second and came around to score as Mueller slapped a double down the right field line.

West Virginia countered with a two-run home run from Kyle Gray in the bottom half of the frame to pull within a run, 4-3.

After a scoreless third, Wake Forest was back on the attack in the fourth with a leadoff single by Harvey and a walk from Jonathan Pryor. Mueller then reached on a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out for Fairchild.

Fairchild extended the Demon Deacon lead to five with his second career grand slam, a line-drive shot over the left-field wall, to push the Wake Forest advantage to 8-3. It was the fifth grand slam in Wake Forest's NCAA Tournament history and first since 2002.

Breazeale followed two batters later with his eighth home run of the season, driving in Sheets who had singled, putting Wake Forest up 10-3.

The Mountaineers responded with three runs in the home half of the fourth to cut the deficit to four at 10-6.

Fairchild wasn't done, however, as he launched his second home run of the night, a two-run blast down the right-field line in the sixth to extend the Deacs' lead to 12-6. In the process, Fairchild became the second player in program history to have a multi-homer game in an NCAA Tournament game.

West Virginia added two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, attempting to come back against the Deacs. Griffin Roberts, who had entered in relief during the eighth inning, sent the Mountaineers down in order in the ninth, including a pair of strikeouts, clinching a trip to the Super Regional.

Wake Forest awaits its Super Regional opponent, as Bethune-Cookman defeated Florida on Sunday evening, forcing a winner-take-all game to be played Monday at 4 p.m.

Feeling Super
• Wake Forest advanced to its second-ever Super Regional, joining the 1999 team in accomplishing the feat.
• Wake Forest won all three of its regional contests, marking the first time in program history that Wake Forest went undefeated in regional play and the first time since the 2001 Knoxville Regional in which Wake Forest won three consecutive games.

Deacs Love The Long Ball
• With three home runs Sunday, the Demon Deacons have now hit 100 on the season, giving them the national lead for home runs in a season.
• Entering play on Saturday, the Deacs trailed Tennessee Tech by two home runs, but the Golden Eagles were held without a homer in their 5-3 loss to Florida State in an NCAA Tournament elimination game.
• The Deacs became the first team in the BBCOR era (new bat standards introduced at the start of the 2011 season) with 100 or more home runs in a season.

Fairchild Shines Offensively
Stuart Fairchild hit a pair of home runs and drove in six runs, helping lead the Deacs to a Super Regional.
• His first home run was a grand slam, the second in Fairchild's career.


 

 

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