Deacons Entertain Tigers This Weekend At Hooks Stadium

March 22, 2001

Games 23-25

#20 Wake Forest (17-5) vs. #10 Clemson (15-6)

Hooks Stadium

Radio: WTRU 830 AM / www.wakeforestsports.com

March 23 3:00 p.m.

March 24 1:30 p.m.

March 25 1:30 p.m.

Deacons Tangle With Tigers At Hooks

20th-ranked Wake Forest (17-5) entertains ACC leader and 10th-ranked Clemson for a key three-game weekend series in Winston-Salem. The Deacons, 5-1 in the league, are looking to gain ground or pass, the first place Tigers who are 3-0 in the ACC. Wake Forest and Clemson enter the weekend licking their wounds after both suffered mid-week non-conference road losses. On Wednesday, the Demon Deacons visited Greenville where the ECU Pirates pulled away late and garnered an 8-3 win. That night in Norfolk, Va., Clemson was upended by Old Dominion by a 10-8 count. The Tigers and Deacons will get together on Friday at 3:00 p.m. Ben Clayton gets the nod for Wake while Clemson will hand the ball to the right-handed Steve Reba.

Wake Forest On the Airwaves

All three games will air locally on WTRU 830 AM on the Wake Forest/ISP Sports Network. The games can also be heard live at: www.wakeforestsports.com. Stan Cotten will call the action for at least nine games including the entire Virginia and Georgia Tech series. In addition, the network will carry all ACC and NCAA tournament games.

Scouting the Tigers

Clemson's week-long Spring Break road trip comes to a close after the Wake Forest series. The Tigers have already been to Maryland and Old Dominion. The Tigers come to town winners of nine of their last 11 with their only losses coming to Georgia Southern and at ODU on Wednesday. Clemson has put up some big numbers hitting .329 as a team led by Jeff Baker who is hitting .384 with seven homers and 30 RBI.

Getting the Call ... Again ... And Again ...

The next time junior closer Dave Bush trots in from the bullpen, he will do so for the 87th time, surpassing Frank Humber as Wake Forest's all-time leader in appearances. Last year, Bush led the team with a school record 36 appearances and already leads the ACC in that category in 2001. Meanwhile, Bush is also climbing the all-time saves chart. He has 14 career saves, good for fourth place. Keith Ksansnak holds the all-time lead with 17. 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 Shares Player of the Week Honors

All-American centerfielder Cory Sullivan shares Co-ACC Player of the Week honors this week with Virginia's Hunter Wyant. Sullivan led the Deacons to a 4-1 week by hitting 11-of-21 (.524) with five walks, ten runs, nine RBI and two steals against ASU, VCU and a three-game sweep in Chapel Hill. In Wake Forest's three wins over the Tar Heels, Sullivan was 8-of-13 (.615) with seven runs and six RBI. He made his first career start on the mound on Sunday, picking up the win after allowing just one run on three hits in seven innings. In the same game, Sullivan went 4-for-5 at the plate with a double and a home run.

Deacons-Tigers: The Series History

The Deacons dropped two of three at Clemson last season. Before that, Wake Forest had taken six in a row from the Tigers, an exceptional mark considering Clemson's traditional dominance in the ACC. Five of those wins came during the 1999 season when the Deacons swept the regular season series at home. The other two came in the ACC tournament as Wake Forest steamrolled to its second straight ACC Tournament title. The Tigers hold the all-time series lead 94-41-1 including a 31-12 edge since George Greer took the reins of the Wake Forest program in 1988.

Pushing All The Right Buttons

Head coach George Greer has been successful in selecting pinch hitters. As a team, the Deacons are hitting .407 (11-of-27) in pinch hitting situations with three home runs, two by Steve LeFaivre, one by Stephen Ghutzman. LeFaivre has been Wake Forest's most frequent pinch-hitter, grabbing a bat eight times with three hits. Other standouts in that category include Ghutzman (3-of-5), Carlos Brackley (2-of-5) and Ryan Johnson (2-of-2).

Power Surge

Through the team's 15 games, Wake Forest had rung up a respectable 13 home runs. Since then, the Demon Deacons have been going yard at an alarming rate with 16 home runs in the last six games including eight dingers over the weekend at North Carolina. Winston-Salem freshman Steve LeFaivre went deep in three straight at-bats covering the VCU and North Carolina series. Corey Slavik hit a pair of bombs against Appalachian State on March 13. The Deacons set a new season-high with four home runs in one game against the Tar Heels on Sunday. Cory Sullivan hit his third leadoff homer of the season, Ryan Johnson drilled a grand slam, Jamie Athas hit first of the year and LeFaivre clocked a pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning to put the icing on the cake.

Is There Anything He Can't Do?

Observers of college baseball already knew Cory Sullivan had a ton of ability in the field and at the plate. That's why he was a third team All-American in 2000, his first season at Wake Forest out of Cypress JC in California. Sullivan proved he could hit for average (.374 last year), hit for power (10 home runs in 78 career games), run well (28 stolen bases in just over one season) and could hold his own in center field. The second team preseason All-American has been the leadoff hitter for the Deacons in every game over the last two seasons and recently, Sullivan has shown a new element in his game: pitching. He will make his second career start on Saturday. The senior from Pittsburgh made his first career start on Sunday and made quite a splash. He threw seven solid innings and surrended just one run on three Carolina hits. Perhaps more impressive was that it was just his fourth collegiate outing on the mound. With first team All-ACC pitcher Scott Siemon and Ryan Braun temporarily out with injuries, Sullivan's time on the mound may be limited but in the meantime, the Deacons have added another lefty to the staff. Last year, Wake Forest successfully used Danny Borrell as a pitcher, first baseman and designated hitter. Borrell signed with the New York Yankees after being drafted in the second round in June.

Greer Enters 14th Season At Wake Forest

Head Coach George Greer enters his 14th season at Wake Forest with a career record of 489-299-3, 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 seven wins to reach the 600-win plateau for his career. Greer is 11 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.

Deacons Off To Best 22-Game Start Since `79

Wake Forest's 17-5 start is the team's best since 1979 when Marvin Crater's squad began 18-4. It is the best start in the14-year George Greer era that includes two ACC Championships, three NCAA regional appearances and three 40-win seasons. Not even the 1998 or the 1999 ACC Championship teams were able to win 17 of their first 22 contests. The 2001 squad has played a difficult slate with 12 games coming against 2000 Regional teams. Wake has an 11-1 record against those teams: James Madison (1-0), Penn State (2-0), Central Florida (1-0), Rice (0-1), Liberty (1-0), New Orleans (2-0), East Carolina (1-0) and North Carolina (3-0).

Deacons on the Tube

Next Saturday's game at Florida State will be televised on the Sunshine Network at 7:00 p.m. 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 on April 13 and 15. The ACC Network will air the Saturday game of that series live from Georgia Tech's Russ Chandler Stadium.

Wake Forest In The ACC Statistics (thru 3/18)

Batting:

Team Batting - 3rd - .329

Avg. - Sullivan - 4th - .411

Hits - Sullivan - 4th - 37

Runs - Sullivan - 1st - 33

Doubles - Sullivan - T-2nd - 9

OnBase% - D'Antona - 4th - .489

Slugging% - D'Antona - 4th - .675

Pitching:

Team Pitching - 2nd - 4.24

Wins - Sleeth - T-3rd - 4

Appearances - Bush - 1st - 15

Appearances - Hanson - 2nd - 13

K's Per 9 IP - Bush - 1st - 11.42

Saves - Bush - 1st - 5

Starts - Sleeth - T-1st - 7

Deacons Picked to Finish Fourth in the ACC

The ACC's nine coaches have predicted Wake Forest to finish fourth in the league in their preseason poll. Georgia Tech was the unanimous pick to win the league in 2001. Wake Forest, with 55 points, finished behind Clemson and FSU , second and third, respectively. Wake Forest finished last season in fourth place in the conference with a 14-10 record.

 

 

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