Deacons To Play Four Straight Days

Feb. 23, 2001

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Wake Forest (5-2) hosts Virginia Tech on Saturday and Sunday at Hooks Stadium before travelling to Liberty on Monday to make up for the 'snow-out' in Lynchburg. The High Point Panthers invade Winston-Salem for a Tuesday matinee.

This will be the first of two times this season, when Wake Forest will play a stretch of four games in four days. In mid-April, the Deacons will play three against NC State and a makeup game against Liberty. All four of those games will be at home.

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

Jamie D'Antona, Josh Hansen and Steve LeFaivre have combined to hit .421 (24-of-57) with nine doubles, two home runs and 14 RBI. In the 12th inning of the UCF game in Houston, D'Antona drove in the game winning run.

Doug Riepe has seen action in two games.

On the hill, Adam Hanson and Kyle Sleeth have a combined 2-2 record with a 2.14 ERA in 21.0 innings to go with 10 strikeouts against just four walks.

Gregory Russell, a 6-foot-7 right-hander, made his debut against Charlotte and showed potential.

Greer Enters 14th Season At Wake Forest
Head Coach George Greer enters his 14th season at Wake Forest with a career record of 476-296-3, 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 18 wins to reach the 600-win plateau for his career. Greer is 24 wins short of reaching 500 wins at Wake Forest.

Greer is the school's 23rd coach in the program's 87 season history. Greer's 14 year tenure is the longest of any prior Wake Forest baseball coach, ahead of John Caddell's 13 years from 1926-39.

The D'Antona 500
He's not quite hitting .500 but he's close. Freshman first baseman Jamie D'Antona, hitting .429 (12-of-28) through seven games.

Already he's dented the record books, hammering three doubles in the second game of the season, 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.

Since then, D'Antona has continued to be a force, with 12 hits and a .714 slugging percentage, both team-highs.

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.

Sullivan Burns the Flames
Preseason All-American Cory Sullivan is already off to a hot start batting .379 in 28 at bats with a home run and five RBI. He has reached base in all seven games this season.

He looks to extend that streak against a team he dominated during the 2000 campaign.

In three games last year, Sullivan batted .615 (8-of-13) with three doubles and four runs scored.

This year, Sullivan is 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.

Bush Chosen ACC Pitcher of the Week
Junior closer Dave Bush was virtually unhittable on opening 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.

Bush In the Record Books
Dave Bush led the team with 36 appearances last season and is well on his way to becoming Wake Forest's all-time leader in that category. He has taken the hill 77 times in a Deacon uniform entering the weekend, good for fourth place in Wake Forest history.

He needs just three appearances to pass John Hendricks for third place and is nine short of surpassing Frank Humber for number one all-time.

Meanwhile, Bush is also climbing the all-time saves chart. He has ten career saves and needs two to tie for fifth place. Keith Ksansnak holds the all-time lead with 17.

Wake Forest On the Airwaves
The Wake Forest/ISP Sports Radio Network will air at least nine regular season games including the entire Virginia, Georgia Tech and NC State series. Plus, Stan Cotten will call the ACC and NCAA Tournaments as the Demon Deacons march through the postseason.

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.

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.

Seeing The Whole Field
Senior Jason Aquilante, voted last year as the ACC's best defensive second baseman, has moved to catcher and will see most of his action there this year.

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

When junior college transfer Stephen Ghutzman was banged up the fall, the coaching staff asked Aquilante to put on the pads for the first time in his career because of his veteran status and knowledge of the pitching staff.

Aquilante has adapted well to the change and hasn't let the position change affect his batting. He's hitting .304 with one home run and four RBI.

In Blue Heaven
With Aquilante's move to catcher, the vacancy at second base has been filled by sophomore Nick Blue.

Blue has already showed the ability to swing the bat hitting at a .333 clip through the first seven games and an even more practical .481 on base percentage.

Last season, Blue appeared in 22 games 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. He already has two stolen bases in three attempts this year.

Ghutzmans Battle at Coca-Cola Classic
Saturday's Wake Forest-Rice contest was a dream for the Ghutzman family as sons Stephen and Phillip competed head-to-head. Stephen was making his Wake Forest debut in front of dozens of family and friends. Older brother Phillip was starting for Rice.

Both Ghutzman boys wear number 11 and play catcher. Stephen, the native of Spring, Texas, grew up in the Houston area and singled in his first Div. 1 at-bat driving in a run.

Up Next: Deacons Begin Long Home Stretch
Tuesday's game against High Point begins the longest homestad of the season for the Deacons. Wake Forest will play 11 straight at home while hosting High Point, New Orleans, East Carolina, Duke and Appalachian State. The team's next road game is not until March 14 when the Deacons travel to Richmond to face VCU. Following the long homestand, Wake Forest will hit the road for five of their next six.

Deacons on the Tube
The entire Georgia Tech 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. Game times for the series are as follows: Friday - 7:00 p.m., Saturday - 1:00 p.m., Sunday - 1:00 p.m.

 

 

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