Wake Forest Baseball Opens 87th Season With Three Games At Home

Feb. 6, 2001

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Games 1-3

February 9
Wake Forest (0-0) 2:30 pm
vs. James Madison (0-0) Hooks Stadium

February 10-11
Wake Forest 1:00 pm / 12:30 pm
vs. Penn State Hooks Stadium

Curtain Raises on 2001 Season
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons open their 87th season of baseball and the first in the 21st century on Friday February 9 at Hooks Stadium against Colonial Athletic Association opponent James Madison. First pitch is at 2:30.

WFU-JMU: The Series History
Although the Demon Deacons and the Dukes are getting together for the first time in the modern era, Wake Forest is certainly familiar with opponents from the Colonial Athletic Association having met six of its eight teams through the years with a 46-25 record.

Last season, the conference was ranked last season as the nation's third best conference behind the SEC and the ACC.

The Deacons saw three CAA teams last season and posted a record 2-1 record against those clubs.

Four CAA teams appears on Wake's 2001 slate.

WFU-Penn State: The Series History
It has been 33 seasons since Penn State and Wake Forest have met on the diamond and its the first time the Nittany Lions have ever visited Winston-Salem to face the Deacons.

The only meetings between the schools came on March 27 and 28, 1968 in Tallahassee, Fla. The teams split their two-game set.

Greer Begins 14th Season At WFU
Head Coach George Greer enters his 14th season at Wake Forest with a career record of 471-294-3, the most wins by any Deacon coach in history, regardless of sport.

Greer, who has coached exactly 1,000 Division I games, begins the season with two major milestones within reach. The 1969 graduate of Connecticut needs 23 wins to reach the 600-win plateau for his career. Greer is 29 wins short of reaching 500 wins at Wake Forest.

Wake Forest in Season Openers
Since 1954, the Demon Deacons are 25-17 all-time in season openers. Under George Greer, Wake Forest is 8-5 including last year's 6-3 loss to defending national champion Miami in Orlando.

Only four times in the previous 13 seasons have the Deacons opened their season at the friendly confines of Hooks Stadium. Wake Forest is a perfect 4-0 in those contests with the most recent win coming in 1999, a 10-5 win over Evansville.

Sullivan Named Preseason All-American
The Collegiate Baseball Writers Association of America named Cory Sullivan a second team preseason All-American. Sullivan was a third team selection last year after batting .374 last year with nine home runs and 50 RBI as the team's leadoff hitter.

Sullivan's 102 hits were the third-highest single season total in Wake Forest history.

Deacons Ranked 28th By Collegiate Baseball
In the preseason "Fabulous 40" poll released by Collegiate Baseball, Wake Forest checks in at No. 28. The Demon Deacons ended the season ranked 20th.

The team's current position snaps a streak of 11 weeks in the top 25 dating back to March 27, 2000.

Wake will have an opportunity to prove it belongs in the top 25 early in the season as five teams ranked in the top 40 appear in the first month of the schedule.

Wake Gets Points for Degree of Difficulty
If the preseason polls are any indication, Wake Forest will again have one of the toughest schedules in the country.

A total of eight opponents are ranked in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Top 40 including Georgia Tech (1), Clemson (5), Rice (7), Florida State (8), Central Florida (19), East Carolina (30), Virginia Tech (38) and Penn State (40).

The 2001 slate also includes a number of reigning conference champions. Penn State captured the Big Ten title last season. East Carolina and James Madison, two teams who will visit Hooks Stadium this year, shared the Colonial crown in 2000.

Finally, to be the best you have to beat the best. Wake Forest will play 12 of last year's NCAA tournament teams. Of the scheduled 56 games, 27 are against 2000 NCAA Tournament qualifiers.

Deacons Picked to Finish Fourth in the ACC
The Atlantic Coast Conference's nine coaches have predicted Wake Forest to finish fourth in the league in the preseason coaches poll. Georgia Tech was the unanimous top pick to win the conference championship in 2001. Wake Forest, with 55 points, finished behind Clemson and Florida State, second and third, respectively.

Not Exactly Bush League
Over the summer, junior closer Dave Bush overwhelmed the highly-regarded competition in the Cape Cod League and was named to the league's All-Star team that played in Boston's Fenway Park against a Team USA select team.

The fireballer will reclaim Wake Forest's closer role this season. Last year he made 36 appearances, a team-high, and posted a 2-3 record, seven saves and a 3.36 ERA.

Siemon Returns As Ace of Rotation
Senior Scott Siemon will be the team's number one starter this season after a stellar junior campaign in which he was named first team All-ACC. Siemon was 11-2 last year with a 2.68 ERA in just over 100 innings of work.

The West Palm Beach, Fla., native currently ranks fifth on the all-time wins chart at Wake Forest with 23. If Siemon can equal his 11 from last season, he would tie Siemon for first place with former teammate John Hendricks.

Quite a Quintet
In Baseball America's College Preview, four Demon Deacons were listed among the 50 best players in their class. Ben Clayton checked in at No. 23 among sophomores. Cory Sullivan was ranked as the nation's 38th best senior while Scott Siemon was listed at No. 46. The publication calls Kyle Sleeth and Jamie D'Antona the country's 42nd and 50th-best newcomers.

Taking One For the Team
Senior Jason Aquilante is used to taking one for the team. After all, he is the school record holder in hit by pitches, a mark he set last season.

Now, he's looking at taking one for the team by changing positions. Voted last year as the ACC's best defensive second baseman, Aquilante could be seeing the majority of his time behind the plate during the 2001 campaign.

With the departure of All-ACC catcher Dan Conway to the Colorado Rockies organization, the Demon Deacons are left with very little experience at catcher.

Wake Forest has three newcomers in JC transfer Stephen Ghutzman and true freshmen Josh Hansen and Ryder Mathias who will battle for time. The most experienced players at the position are sophomores Hank Hornsby and Jon Klopacs who combined to play in nine games last season.

Blue Streak
With the possibility of Aquilante moving to catcher, the vacancy at second base would likely be filled by sophomore Nick Blue.

Blue appeared in 22 games last year and started just one but he made the most of his opportunities by batting .364 and did not commit an error in the field.

The coaching staff loves Blue's speed on the basepaths and his range at second base.

Deacons on the Tube
The entire series with Georgia Tech, everyone's preseason favorite to win the College World Series, in Atlanta will be televised on a regional basis. Fox Sports South will carry the Friday and Sunday games of the Georgia Tech series in Atlanta April 13 and 15. The ACC Network will air the Saturday game of that series live from Georgia Tech's Russ Chandler Stadium.

Wake Forest on the Air
The Wake Forest/ISP Sports Radio Network, with play-by-play man Stan Cotten, will broadcast at least nine regular season games including the entire series against Clemson, Virginia and Georgia Tech.

In addition to the regular season schedule, the Wake Forest/ISP Sports Radio Network will be there as the Demon Deacons advance through the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.

The flagship station of the Wake Forest/ISP Sports Network is WTRU 830 AM.

Up Next: Mid-Week Battle With Liberty
The Demon Deacons will host Liberty on Wednesday at Hooks Stadium. Wake Forest eliminated the Flames from the NCAA Tournament last year at the Columbia, S.C., regional.

Following the one-game set with Liberty, Wake will travel to Houston, Texas for a tournament at Rice University February 16-18. Wake Forest will play No. 19 Central Florida on Friday, tournament host and seventh-ranked Rice on Saturday before closing out the trip with Purdue on Sunday afternoon.

While in the Bayou City, Wake Forest will face two familiar foes. Last year, the Demon Deacons played both Rice and Central Florida at the ACC-Disney Blast in Orlando, Florida.

The Deacons dropped to 1-1 on the year after losing to UCF 5-4 but returned the next day to defeat Rice 2-1. The game marked the Wake Forest debut for freshman Ben Clayton who turned in a tremendous six-inning performance without allowing a run.

Wake Forest and Purdue have never met.

 

 

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