No. 24 Wake Forest To Play In Hormel Foods Classic At The Minneapolis Metrodome

March 1, 2000

#24 Wake Forest (8-2, 0-0 ACC) in the Hormel Foods Classic

March 3-5
H.H.H. Metrodome
Minneapolis, MN

DEMON DEACONS RIDE 8-GAME WINNING STREAK TO MINNESOTA

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The 24th-ranked Wake Forest baseball team travels to the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., for the 2000 Hormel Foods Classic. The Demon Deacons (8-2) will face Notre Dame on Friday (12:15 p.m.), Georgia on Saturday (5:30 p.m.), and tournament-host Minnesota on Sunday (12:15 p.m.) in the three-day round-robin event. [All times Eastern].

Wake Forest enters the weekend riding an eight-game winning streak after dropping the first two games of the season to nationally-ranked opponents Miami and Central Florida.

A GLANCE AT THE DEMON DEACONS

The Wake Forest offense, which entered the season with the task of replacing All-American first baseman Jon Palmieri, has been on fire of late and no one has been hotter than junior third baseman Corey Slavik, .512-3-16. Slavik leads the Demon Deacons in batting average, hits and runs scored and has been on fire over the team's last seven games (.667 average).

Junior DH/1B Danny Borrell, .375-4-19, is the power of the offense, leading the squad in home runs and RBI from his cleanup spot in the batting order. Borrell became the first Wake Forest player in five years to hit for the cycle when he accomplished the feat on Feb. 24 against Davidson.

Wake Forest's junior middle infield combination of shortstop Chase Voshell, .333-0-13, and second baseman Jason Aquilante, .375-0-11, are mainstays in the lineup while junior Dan Conway, .270-3-14, has started all 10 games behind the plate.

The outfield is anchored in the middle by junior center fielder Cory Sullivan, .419-1-7, and in left field by junior Matt Price, .435-3-12. Righty Carlos Brackley, .375-1-4, and lefty Ryan Johnson, .250-1-6, platoon in right field, while versatile sophomore Jamie Athas, .333-1-5, has seen time at DH, first base and second base.

PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION

Freshman lefty Ben Clayton (3-0, 0.50 ERA) will start the weekend opener on Friday against Notre Dame. Clayton has been very impressive thus far this season, recording three wins in his three starts, including tossing six innings of shutout ball against 7th-ranked Rice in his collegiate debut. Clayton has surrendered just one run in 18.0 innings of work while registering 23 strikeouts against only four walks. Opponents are batting just .153 against the southpaw. For more information on Clayton or any other Wake Forest pitcher, please see his game-by-game statistics on the pages later in the packet.

Junior right-hander Scott Siemon (3-1, 2.84 ERA) will get the starting nod on Saturday against Georgia. After pitching well (5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K's) but suffering a tough loss in the season opened against defending national champion Miami, Siemon has rattled off three straight wins in his last three starts. He has held opponents to a .211 average while recording 21 K's to just four walks in four starts this season. Siemon, who was the top man out of the bullpen during the first half of 1999, now owns a 10-2 career record as a starting pitcher.

Junior southpaw Danny Borrell (0-0, 7.47 ERA) is scheduled to start the weekend finale on Sunday against Minnesota. Borrell, who does not have a decision in three prior starting assignments, has struggled with his command during the early part of the 2000 season, but he has a proven track record as a successful starting pitcher -- he tossed a complete game in Wake Forest's 6-3 win over Florida State in the 1998 ACC Championship game.

SERIES VERSUS THE HORMEL FIELD

Wake Forest leads the series with Notre Dame, 2-0, after winning a pair of meetings over the Fighting Irish during the 1988 regular season in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons won by scores of 17-10 and 12-5.

Of the three teams in the Hormel field, Wake Forest has the longest history with Georgia, as the two schools have met on 20 previous occasions. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series (since 1954), 14-6, after the two schools split a pair of meetings in Athens a year ago (WFU won game one, 8-2, UGA won game two, 16-7).

Wake Forest and Minnesota will be meeting for the first time in the sport of baseball.

BREAK OUT THE BIG STICKS

After scoring just nine runs and batting .215 as a team in the three-day season-opening tournament at Disney World, the Wake Forest offense has jumped into high gear during the month of February. In the eight-game winning streak since the ACC/Disney Baseball Blast, Wake Forest is averaging 14.0 runs per game while batting .402 as a team. The Demon Deacons have scored better than 10 runs in six of the last seven games (including five in a row) while outscoring their opponents 124-29 in the last eight games.

For the season, Wake Forest is now batting .356 and the Demon Deacons are averaging 12.1 runs per game. Wake Forest had belted 17 home runs has an impressive .604 team slugging percentage.

COREY SLAVIK - DARE WE SAY, EN FUEGO?

As Wake Forest has warmed up at the plate as a team, a number of individuals have also seen a rise in their batting averages over the last month. No player, however, has been hotter than junior third baseman Corey Slavik in the past eight games.

Slavik, who went 1-for-11 in the season opening tournament in Orlando, has gone 20-for-30 (.667) with three home runs and 16 RBI in eight games since then. Slavik now leads the team in batting average (.512), hits (21) and runs scored (18).

BORRELL HITS FOR THE CYCLE

Junior first baseman/DH Danny Borrell became the first Wake Forest player to hit for the cycle since the 1995 season with his performance in Wake Forest's 30-4 win over Davidson on Feb. 24. (Josh Itzoe hit for the cycle on Mar. 23, 1995 against Hartford). Borrell finished the afternoon with five hits in seven at bats, including one single, one double, one triple and two home runs. He had a career high seven RBI in the game.

For the season, Borrell is now batting .375 with a team-high four home runs and 19 RBI.

ROOKIE CLAYTON MAKES HIS MARK

Freshman lefthander Ben Clayton has been extremely impressive in his first month in a Wake Forest uniform. Clayton made his collegiate debut in grand style, tossing six shutout innings in the Demon Deacons' 2-1 win over Rice. He allowed just one hit and one walk to the 7th-ranked Owls while striking out nine batters.

Clayton followed that performance with five strong innings (1 run on 2 hits) in a win over High Point and with six shutout innings in a 13-0 victory over Virginia Tech. For the season, Clayton has allowed just one run in 18.0 innings (0.50 ERA) while holding opponents to a .153 average. He has 23 strikeouts against just four base on balls.

SCHMITT MAKES HIS RETURN

Senior Eric Schmitt, who missed the second half of the 1999 season with a small tear in his elbow ligaments. Surgery was not required, and a summer rehabilitation process allowed him to return to throwing off a mound last fall. Schmitt made his return to game action with two shutout innings against Campbell on Feb. 15. He has since picked up two wins in relief, and he has yet to allow a run in nine innings of work. Schmitt now owns a career record of 19-2.

RECORD OUTBURST VS. DAVIDSON

Wake Forest plated 30 runs on Feb. 24 against Davidson, tying the school record for most runs in a game (the Deacons also scored 30 runs in 1992 against Campbell and UNC Asheville and in 1979 against Campbell). In the game against the Wildcats, a 30-4 Wake Forest victory, the Demon Deacons scored 14 runs and tied a school-record with 14 base hits in the seventh inning when 12 consecutive batters reached base.

PRESEASON ACCOLADES

Wake Forest was well represented in Baseball America's 2000 College Preview issue. Junior Chase Voshell was named the preseason all-ACC shortstop and junior Danny Borrell was tabbed the all-ACC utility player. Additionally, Borrell was listed as the ACC's 5th best prospect for the upcoming 2000 Major League Baseball draft while Voshell was listed at the 6th best prospect.

Sophomore infielder Jamie Athas, a transfer from Providence, was named the ACC's 2nd-best newcomer, while second baseman Jason Aquilante and third baseman Corey Slavik were voted as the ACC's best defensive players at their positions.

DEACS PICKED 4th IN PRESEASON ACC POLL

The Demon Deacons were predicted to finish fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference race this spring, according to the league's nine head coaches. Head coach George Greer's squad earned 53 points in the poll, picking up one first place vote.

Florida State, with seven first place votes, was the top pick with 79 points. The Seminoles were followed by Georgia Tech (67) and Clemson (66). North Carolina (48) was picked fifth behind Wake Forest, followed by NC State and Virginia sixth (31), Maryland eighth (16) and Duke ninth (14).

DEMON DEACONS IN THE ACC

Spanning the 1998 and 1999 seasons, Wake Forest has been impressive against ACC opponents. The Demon Deacons have 39 wins over ACC clubs (including regular season and tournament games), second among all ACC schools behind only Florida State's 46 wins. And during those seasons, the ACC has been rated as the nation's top conference by the RPI.

ACC Wins in the Last Two Years*

1. Florida State46
2. Wake Forest 39
3. Clemson30
4. North Carolina28
4. Georgia Tech28
6. NC State27
7. Virginia14
8. Duke13
8. Maryland13
(*Includes regular season and tournament games)

HEAD COACH GEORGE GREER

The winningest coach in Wake Forest history in any sport, head coach George Greer is now in his 13th season with the Demon Deacons. He owns a record of 438-276-2 at Wake Forest, and has led the Deacs to 30 or more wins in 11 of 12 seasons, including a school-record 47 wins last year. Greer reached 400 victories at Wake Forest last season, and he became just the 8th coach in ACC history to win that many games at a conference school.

A 26-year veteran of coaching, Greer has a 544-398-6 record in 19 years at the Division I level. Greer reached the 500 career victory plateau last season. Prior to coming to Wake Forest, Greer coached at Davidson and Connecticut-Avery Point as well as in the Cape Cod League.

 

 

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