Wake Forest Baseball, Duke Begin ACC Play

March 8, 2001

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#22 Wake Forest (11-2) at Hooks Stadium

vs.

Duke (7-9)

March 9 vs. Duke (3:00 p.m.)
March 10 vs. Duke (1:30 p.m.)
March 11 vs. Duke (1:30 p.m.)

Radio: None

Deacons Open ACC Play With Blue Devils
Wake Forest (11-2) begins its quest for its third ACC crown in four years as conference play begins this weekend. The Demon Deacons face the Duke Blue Devils for a three-game set at Hooks Stadium beginning Friday at 3:00 p.m.

The Deacons are red hot as of late, winning seven straight contests. Wake's last loss came in Houston to Purdue on February 18.

The Blue Devils travel to Winston-Salem with a 7-9 record having won four of their last five.

Deacons-Devils: The Series History
Wake Forest holds a 73-42 lead in the all-time series since 1954. The Demon Deacons have captured 14 of the last 16 meetings against Duke, including an eight-game winning streak that dates back to 1997.

The current group of Wake Forest players have never lost to the Blue Devils, regardless of site.

Since 1988, the beginning of the George Greer era, the Deacons are 14-3 at home against the Blue Devils.

Last season, Wake Forest swept the Devils in a three-game series held in Durham. The Deacons won 3-2, 12-3 and 8-6. Current Duke assistant and former Wake pitcher Matt Briggs earned a win against the Devils last season in a WFU uniform.

... And We're Back
After a pair of wins against New Orleans, a 2000 NCAA regional team, over the weekend, the Demon Deacons were rewarded with a return to the top 25 in two of the three major polls.

Baseball America lists the Deacons at No. 22 while the ESPN/USA Today poll ranks Wake Forest 25th. Collegiate Baseball has the Deacons on the outside looking in at No. 28.

The Deacons could improve their standing after posting an 8-7 win over 17th-ranked East Carolina on Wednesday.

No One Comes Into Our House
The Demon Deacons are right in the middle of a nine-game homestand that began last week with an 11-3 win over High Point. The momentum continued to build over the weekend with a pair of wins over New Orleans and against 17th-ranked ECU.

The confines of Hooks Stadium have been very friendly as the Deacons are off to a 9-0 start at home. The homestand continues this weekend with the ACC opening series against Duke.

Wake Forest has a long way to go before matching a pair of 17-game home winning streaks that last through portions of the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

Since the beginning of the 1998 season, the Deacons are 75-20 (.789) at Hooks Stadium.

New Sensation
It hasn't taken long for the Class of 2004 to make its presence felt. Several of the freshmen have been instrumental in Wake Forest's early success.

First baseman Jamie D'Antona has begun his college career on a 13-game hitting streak entering the Duke series. He has quickly become one of the most dangerous threats in the Deacon order, leading or tying for the team lead in average, hits, multi-hit games, doubles, home runs, runs batted in and on-base percentage. His six doubles are second-best in the ACC.

Josh Hansen and Steve LeFaivre have shared time at the designated hitter position, typically batting third in the lineup, at a .339 clip (19-of-56). They have combined for three home runs, 14 RBI, four doubles. Hansen leads Wake with a .750 slugging percentage.

The rookie talent is also on the mound where Kyle Sleeth has started four games with a 3-1 record and a 3.09 ERA. His wins came against Penn State, Liberty and New Orleans, three tournament teams last year. The loss was a 3-2 decision at top-ranked Rice.

Adam Hanson has been outstanding in the early going in a setup role for closer Dave Bush. Hanson has eight appearances with a 2.35 ERA through 15.1 IP.

Burning Bush
Junior closer Dave Bush has been on fire to start the season. Before last weekend, his ERA was a near-perfect 0.69 ERA through eight appearances with three saves.

But, Bush proved to be human against UNO giving up four earned runs in five innings of work in two games. He saw his ERA "balloon" to 2.50, still an outstanding mark, good for seventh in the ACC.

Bush did set a new career-best for strikeouts, with eight against UNO on Saturday. He leads the ACC with 26 K's.

Earlier in the year, Bush enjoyed a streak of four outings, spanning 6.1 innings, without allowing a hit. On February 12, Bush was named the ACC Pitcher of the Week.

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 Wake Forest Record Books
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 82 times in a Deacon uniform entering the ECU game, third place in Wake Forest history. He is five appearances away from surpassing Frank Humber for number one all-time.

Meanwhile, Bush is also climbing the all-time saves chart. He has 13 career saves, good for fourth 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.

Wake's next radio game will be March 14 at VCU.

Remember This Name
Cory Sullivan. The preseason All-American is already off to a solid start batting .321 in 56 at bats with a home run and eight RBI. He has reached base in all 13 games this season.

He was voted a second team preseason All-American by the NCBWA after being a third team selection last year after batting .374 last year with nine home runs and 50 RBI as the team's leadoff hitter. His 102 were the third-highest total in school history.

Greer Enters 14th Season At Wake Forest
Head Coach George Greer enters his 14th season at Wake Forest with a career record of 482-296-3, 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 12 wins to reach the 600-win plateau for his career. Greer is 18 wins away of reaching 500 wins at Wake Forest. He is tied for sixth all-time for wins by ACC coaches.

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.

Siemon Suffers Shoulder Injury
Senior Scott Siemon, projected as the team's number one starter, will be sidelined for the next three to four weeks after experiencing soreness in his throwing shoulder during the East Carolina game. Further examination showed no tear in the shoulder and the prescription is two weeks rest and two weeks of rehab.

Siemon pitched just one inning against the Pirates, without allowing a hit, before having to leave the game.

The loss could be a big one for the Deacons. Siemon had 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. He currently ranks fourth on the all-time wins chart at Wake Forest with 24.

The Wake Forest pitching rotation becomes extremely young as sophomore Ben Clayton and freshman Kyle Sleeth will carry the load. The coaching staff has not decided who will take Siemon's place in the rotation.

Possible candidates would include junior Ryan Lewis, who started eight games as a freshman at Providence, sophomore Ryan Braun and junior Brad Comer, who was a part-time starter in 2000. The wild card of the group, however, would be senior center fielder Cory Sullivan. Sullivan made one appearnce on the mound last year, throwing one inning against Pace on March 13.

 

 

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