Wake Forest Baseball Travels To Rice University

Feb. 14, 2001

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#24 Wake Forest (3-0)
vs. #19 Central Florida (6-1)
1:00 pm
at Rice University

February 17
at #1 Rice
1:00 pm
Reckling Park

February 18
vs. Purdue
12:00 pm
at Rice University

Wake Forest Travels To Lone Star State
The 24th-ranked Demon Deacons visit Houston, Texas for the Rice University Coca-Cola Tournament over the weekend. Wake Forest was idle during the week after Wednesday's game against Liberty was rained out.

The Deacons opened their schedule last weekend with an unblemished 3-0 record after defeating James Madison on Friday and Penn State on Saturday and Sunday.

At the Rice Tournament, Wake Forest will see some of the nation's best competition beginning with 19th-ranked Central Florida on Friday. On Saturday, the Demon Deacons will get a look at top-ranked Rice before finishing the weekend against Big Ten foe Purdue.

Bush Chosen ACC Pitcher of the Week
Junior closer Dave Bush was virtually unhittable over the weekend and earned ACC Pitcher of the Week honors after allowing just one hit to the 12 batters he faced. He struck out five batters in 3.2 innings over three appearances and earned his first save of the season against Penn State on Sunday.

Over the summer, Bush overwhelmed the highly-regarded competition in the Cape Cod League and was named to the league's All-Star team that played at Fenway Park against a Team USA select team. Sullivan Starts Season on a Roll

Preseason All-American Cory Sullivan is already off to a hot start batting .500 in 12 at bats with a home run and three RBI.

The Collegiate Baseball Writers Association of America named 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.

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 picked up the win on opening day against James Madison despite allowing five James Madison runs in six innings.

He currently ranks fourth on the all-time wins chart at Wake Forest with 24. If Siemon can equal his 11 wins from last season, he would tie first place with John Hendricks. Greer Begins 14th Season At WFU

Head Coach George Greer enters his 14th season at Wake Forest with a career record of 474-294-3, the most wins by any Deacon coach in history, regardless of sport.

Greer, who coached his 1,000th Division I game last season in the NCAA Tournament, has two major milestones within reach. The 1969 graduate of Connecticut needs 20 wins to reach the 600-win plateau for his career. Greer is 26 wins short of reaching 500 wins at Wake Forest.

WFU-UCF: The Series History
The Golden Knights own the series lead 2-0 after winning last year's meeting at the ACC-Disney Blast in Orlando, Fla. Wake Forest took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning before UCF rallied and captured a 5-4 win.

Friday's scheduled UCF starter Justin Pope also threw against the Deacons in last year's contest. He went 6.0 innings and allowed four runs on six hits while striking out two batters. He did not earn a decision in that game.

The other meeting in the series was in 1996 at the Olive Garden Classic in Kissimmee, Fla., near Orlando. The Golden Knights won that game by a 5-4 count.

WFU-Rice: The Series History
Like Central Florida, Wake Forest also faced Rice at the ACC-Disney Blast in Orlando. The game marked the debut of freshman pitcher Ben Clayton. He picked up the win after pitching six shutout innings and striking out nine Owl batters while giving up just one hit.

WFU-Purdue: The Series History
None. Wake Forest and Purdue have never met although the Deacons have already seen a Big Ten team this season. Wake defeated Penn State twice last weekend, 10-5 and 3-2.

Wake Forest is 14-10 all-time against Big Ten foes and 5-1 versus teams from the Crossroads of America.

Deacons Ranked 24th By Baseball America
After being omitted from the top 25 in all three polls to start the year, Wake Forest wasted no time in moving back into the rankings.

After starting 3-0 with wins over defending Colonial champion James Madison and defending Big Ten champion Penn State, Wake Forest jumped to No. 24 in the Baseball America poll and is knocking on the door in the two other major polls, No. 26 in USA Today/ESPN and No. 28 in Collegiate Baseball.

Brothers Don't Shake Hands... Brothers Hug!
Don't blame Butch and Barbara Ghutzman for cheering for both Rice and Wake Forest tihs weekend. That's beacuse their sons, Stephen and Phillip, play for Wake and Rice, respectively.

Phillip went to high school at Bellaire, but the family moved after Steven's sophomore year to Spring, a north Houston suburb, where he was the catcher for Josh Beckett, the number-two pick in the draft in '99.

Phillip and Stephen both spent time at Blinn Junior College in Texas undre coach Kenny Humphreys.

Wake To Face Nation's Best
If polls are any indication, the Demon Deacons will again have one of the toughest schedules in the nation.

Six of Wake Forest's opponents are ranked in Baseball America's Top 25, including two teams on this weekend's slate.

The 2001 schedule 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.

Wake-Rice Game To Be Aired On Internet
Saturday's contest against Rice will be broadcast locally in the Houston area on KTRU 91.7 FM and on the internet at www.ktru.org. Jose Luis Cubria and Derek Gosnay will call the action live from Rice's Reckling Park.

Freshman Class Making Early Impact
It hasn't taken long for the Class of 2004 to make its presence felt. Five freshmen have been instrumental in Wake Forest's early success.

Jamie D'Antona, Josh Hansen and Steve LeFaivre have combined to hit .542 (13-of-24) with seven doubles, a home run and eight RBI.

Doug Riepe, younger brother of former Wake Forest catcher and 1998 ACC Tournament MVP Andrew Riepe, also saw action as a late-inning defensive replacement on Saturday against Penn State.

On the hill, Adam Hanson and Kyle Sleeth have a combined 2-0 record with a 0.00 ERA in 11.2 innings to go with eight strikeouts against just one walk.

Wake Forest Coming Through In The Clutch
The Demon Deacons are hoping good habits are hard to break because already they're already in the habit of driving in runs in clutch situations.

As a team, Wake Forest is hitting a solid .355 with runners on base (22-of-62) and an even more impressive .385 (15-of-39) with runners in scoring position.

Perhaps Wake Forest most clutch of hit of the year wasn't even a hit. Matt Price's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning was the game-winning RBI in Wake Forest's 3-2 comeback win against Penn State on Sunday.

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.

Wake Forest finished last season in fourth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 14-10 record. D'Antona Dents the Record Book

Freshman first baseman Jamie D'Antona waited one game before putting his name into the Wake record book but by Saturday, he couldn't wait any longer.

D'Antona hammered three doubles, tying a school record held by six players. It has been five years since anyone had performed the feat, most recently by Jon Palmieri in 1997.

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 played the entire opening weekend behind the dish and could see the majority of his time there 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.

Aquilante hasn't let the position change affect his batting. He's hitting .333 with one home run.

Blue Streak
With Aquilante's move to catcher, the vacancy at second base has been 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.

Through just three games, Blue has two stolen bases in three attempts.

Up Next: Regional Rivals Await Deacons
Wake Forest will return to the friendly confines of Hooks Stadium for a Tuesday matchup against Charlotte at 2:30 p.m. On Thursday, the Deacons will travel to Lynchburg, Va., for a contest against the Liberty Flames. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.

 

 

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