Wake Baseball Hosts Florida State For Series Starting Friday

March 17, 2000

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons host their first home ACC series this weekend against the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles.

Florida State comes into the series with a record of 24-2 overall and 3-0 in the ACC. The Seminoles carry an 18-game win streak into this weekend's series.

Wake Forest currently holds a 15-6 overall record and the Deacons are 1-2 in ACC play. Wake has won three in a row this week after losing two of three games to N.C. State last weekend.

Wake Forest thrid baseman Corey Slavik, .437-5-35, leads the team in hitting. Slavik leads the team in hits with 38, on-base percentage at .505 and RBI with 35. He is third on the team in home runs with five.

Junior catcher Dan Conway, .346-7-27, leads the team in home runs so far this season. He has hit three home runs in three games so far this week, including two in the 18-7 win over Pace on Monday.

Junior 1B/DH Danny Borrell, .316-6-30, is second on the team in both home runs and RBI. Borrell has started all 21 games this season for the Deacons

Wake Forest's junior middle infield combination of shortstop Chase Voshell, .341-1-21, and second baseman Jason Aquilante, .351-0-17, are mainstays in the lineup.

The outfield is anchored in the middle by junior center fielder Cory Sullivan, .402-2-17, and in left field by junior Matt Price, .333-3-15. Righty Carlos Brackley, .263-1-5 and lefties Ryan Johnson, .304-2-7 and Stephen Sullivan,.355-0-5 platoon in right field, while versatile sophomore Jamie Athas, .271-1-9, has seen time at DH, first base and second base.

Junior right-hander Scott Siemon (5-1, 2.06 ERA) will get the starting nod in the series opener on Friday. After pitching well (5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K's) but suffering a tough loss in the season opener against defending national champion Miami, Siemon has rattled off five straight wins in his last five starts. He has held opponents to a .190 average while recording 32 K's to just nine walks through six starts this season. Siemon pitched the first complete game of the season for the Deacons in an 11-0 victory in the ACC opener last Friday against N.C. State.

Senior right-hander Eric Schmitt (3-0, 3.12 ERA) is scheduled to start the second game of the weekend on Saturday. Schmitt made his return earlier this season after missing part of the 1999 season after suffering a small tear in his elbow ligaments. After making a few appearances in relief, Schmitt got his first start of the season last Saturday against N.C. State. Schmitt pitched three innings, giving up five runs on six hits and striking out three batters.

Freshman lefty Ben Clayton (5-2, 2.65 ERA) will start the weekend's final game on Sunday. Clayton has been very impressive thus far this season, recording four wins in his five starts, including tossing six innings of shutout ball against 7th-ranked Rice in his collegiate debut. Clayton pitched 6 1/3 innings in his last outing against East Tennessee State. Clayton gave up three runs on two hits in the game to pick up his fifth win of the season. For the season, opponents are batting just .188 against the southpaw.

Florida State leads the all-time series with Wake Forest 45-12. The Deacons have posted a 3-1 record the last two seasons in the ACC Tournament. Wake defeated FSU twice in the 1998 tournament and once in the 1999 tournament enroute to back-to-back ACC Tournament titles. The Seminoles have won the last 13 regular season games between the two teams.

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 jumped into high gear during the month of February and has carried that over into March. In the 18 games since the ACC/Disney Baseball Blast, Wake Forest is averaging 11.6 runs and 13.7 hits per game. The Demon Deacons have scored better than 10 runs in 11 of those 18 games while outscoring their opponents 209-93 in the last 18 games.

For the season, Wake Forest is now batting .342 and the Demon Deacons are averaging 10.4 runs per game. Wake Forest has belted 28 home runs and has an impressive .560 team slugging percentage.

Junior pitcher Scott Siemon, who started the season with a 6-3 loss to defending national champion Miami, has won five games in his last five starts. Siemon threw the Deacons' first complete game last week in Wake's ACC opener at N.C. State. Siemon gave up only four hits in the 11-0 win. For the season, Siemon is 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA and owns a career record of 39-11.

Junior pitcher Danny Borrell made his return earlier this week after injuring his hand in an earlier game against N.C. State. Borrell pitched 1 2/3 innings against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers, giving up two runs on three hits. Borrell will not start in this weekend's series against Florida State, but he will be available out of the bullpen.

Wake Forest comes into this weekend's series having won 12 straight games at Hooks Stadium. The Deacons' last loss at the friendly confines came on April 25, 1999 in a 13-7 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack. Wake won its last three games at Hooks last season and are 9-0 there so far this season.

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 three wins in relief, and he made his first start of the 2000 season in last week's ACC series at N.C. State. Schmitt now owns a career record of 20-2.

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.

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.

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).

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 State 49
2. Wake Forest 40
3. Clemson 30
4. NC State 29
t5. North Carolina 28
t5. Georgia Tech 28
7. Virginia 14
t8. Duke 13
t8. Maryland 13

(*Includes regular season and tournament games)

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 445-278-2 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 551-400-6 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.