Wake Forest to Host NC State This Weekend

March 22, 2007

Games No. 24-26: Wake Forest vs. NC State
Demon Deacons (13-10, 2-4) vs. Wolfpack (16-7, 3-3)

Fri., March 23 - 3 p.m.
Sat., March 24 - 1 p.m.
Sun., March 25 - 1 p.m.

Where: Hooks Stadium - Winston-Salem, N.C.
Pitching Matchup:

WF: RHP Brad Kledzik (2-1, 5.20)
NCSU: LHP Eric Surkamp (2-1, 2.53)
WF: LHP Garrett Bullock (1-1, 5.54)
NCSU: RHP Andrew Brackman (4-1, 2.97)
WF: LHP Eric Niesen (2-2, 5.12)
NCSU: LHP Jimmy Gilheeney (1-1, 1.90)

Game Notes:

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Television: ACC Select (All games)
Audio: WBRF 98.1 (Fri.) Internet-only (Sat. & Sun.)
Friday: Gametracker
Saturday: Gametracker
Sunday: Gametracker

IN THE BATTERS BOX -- Wake Forest is looking to keep its current two-game winning streak going with a three-game series against ACC-rival NC State this weekend at Hooks Stadium. The Demon Deacons snapped a five-game losing streak with a pair of mid-week wins. Wake, 13-10 overall and 2-4 in the ACC, is coming off wins over Ohio and Winthrop. NC State heads west to Winston-Salem having won five of its last six games. The Wolfpack will be fresh after not playing a mid-week game since last weekend's conference series with Virginia Tech. NC State is 16-7 overall and 3-3 in ACC play.

NC STATE INSIDER -- NC State is coming off a series win against Virginia Tech last weekend in Raleigh. The Wolfpack, 16-7 overall and 3-3 in the ACC, have not played a road game since March 6 when they lost 10-8 at UNC Greensboro. NCSU started off the season with eight straight wins before losing six of its next nine games. Recently, the Wolfpack has been hot, winning five of its last six games. Joe Florio leads NC State at the plate with a .361 average. Florio is getting on base at a rate of .511. Ryan Pond and Caleb Mangum are tied for the lead in home runs with three apiece, while Pond leads the team with 19 RBIs. Ramon Corona has a team-high six stolen bases in six attempts. On the mound, the Wolfpack is led by starters Andrew Brackman and Eric Surkamp. Brackman has made six starts and is 4-1 with a 2.97 ERA. Surkamp has also started six games and is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA. In relief, Eryk McConnell has not allowed a run in 16.2 innings over 12 appearances. McConnell has five saves on the year.

ON DECK -- Wake Forest will have just one mid-week game next week, a home re-match with Winthrop on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Demon Deacons will then hit the road for a three-game set at North Carolina next weekend.

RANKINGS -- NC State is ranked No. 30 in the latest NCBWA Top 30 Poll. Wake Forest is unranked.

-Wake Forest snapped a five-game losing streak with two games during the week. The Deacons earned a 6-4 home win over Ohio on Tuesday and then picked up a 10-8 win at Winthrop on Wednesday. After struggling to produce with runners in scoring position last weekend at Florida State, Wake improved during the mid-week, hitting .280 (7-for-25). Additionally, the Deacons left just five runners on base on Tuesday, improving on a trend from their losing streak.
-Wake got stellar efforts from its bullpen in both games, as six relievers combined to allow just one run in 9.1 innings of work. On Tuesday, Kirby Wedekind, Brad Kledzik and Josh Ellis pitched a scoreless 2.2 innings. On Wednesday, Phil Negus, Eric Niesen, Ben Hunter and Ellis shut down Winthrop for 6.2 innings after the Eagles had scored seven runs in the first three innings. Ellis earned a save in each of the games to bring his season total to three.
-The middle of the Demon Deacon lineup did some serious damage at the plate. Allan Dykstra, Willy Fox, Dustin Hood and Evan Ocheltree combined to hit .484 (15-for-31) with 10 RBIs, 11 runs and three home runs in the two games. Fox homered against Ohio, while Dykstra and Ocheltree each had home runs at Winthrop. Hood was 3-for-4 on Tuesday, and Dykstra went 3-for-3 on Wednesday. Fox and Hood extended their hitting streaks to 12 and seven games respectively.
-Freshmen Alex Wiesner and Phil Negus each earned their first collegiate victory during the week. Wiesner got the win on Tuesday, pitching 6.1 innings and allowing four runs on four hits. Wiesner let just four baserunners reach in his first six innings of work. Negus got the win in relief on Wednesday, pitching 2.2 innings and surrendering one run on one hit. Negus came on during a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the third but got out of it with just one inherited runner coming across.

GOFF RETURNS TO LINEUP -- Second baseman Andy Goff returned to the Wake Forest lineup on Wednesday after missing the 11 previous games with a hyper-extended elbow. The junior injured his throwing elbow turning a double play in the final inning of Wake Forest's 16-11 loss to UNC Wilmington on Sunday, March 4. Nathan Frazier filled in at second for most of the 11 games that Goff missed. Frazier made 10 starts at second and hit .241 with a pair of doubles. Willy Fox also made a start at second base against Ohio. Goff had started each of the first 11 games of the season, hitting .267 before the injury. He had a solid series against UNC Wilmington, as he collected five hits and had five RBIs. In his return against Winthrop, Goff went 0-for-6 but was solid defensively.

WHAT A RELIEF! -- The Wake Forest pitching staff has been buoyed by its bullpen of late. The Deacon relievers have given up two runs or less in five of the last six games, pitching at least 2.2 innings in each of the contests. The bullpen has not given up more than two earned runs in each of those games. Against Ohio and Winthrop, six Wake relievers combined to allow just one run in 9.1 innings of work. For the season, the bullpen has inherited 42 runners and has allowed 18 of them to score (42.9 percent). Ben Hunter has not allowed any of his nine inherited runners to score. Josh Ellis has led the relief corps so far, posting a 0.48 ERA with three saves in 14 appearances. Phil Negus has pitched the most out of the bullpen, posting a 3.60 ERA in 20.0 innings. Kirby Wedekind has a 1.74 ERA in eight relief appearances.

YOUNG HAS SEASON-ENDING SURGERY -- Redshirt sophomore Greg Young had season-ending shoulder surgery last week. A left-hander, Young had the surgery on his throwing arm. The Pacific Palisades, Calif., native had not appeared in a game this season. Last year, Young made 12 relief appearances, finishing 2-1 with a 8.83 ERA. Young is expected to be fully recovered from the surgery in time for the 2008 season.

HITTING STREAKS -- Two Demon Deacons are currently riding hitting streaks of five games or more. Willy Fox is riding a team-best 12-game hitting streak, while Dustin Hood is on a seven-game streak. Allan Dykstra had his second nine-game hitting streak of the season snapped at Florida State last weekend. Evan Ocheltree also had a nine-game hitting streak earlier this season.

Player Statistics During Streak
Willy Fox (12) .400 (22-for-55), 7 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, .691 SLG, .441 OBP
Dustin Hood (7) .345 (10-for-29), 4 R, 3B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 2 SB, .441 OBP

MIDDLE-INNING BLUES -- Almost half the runs Wake Forest has allowed this season have come during the middle three innings. The Deacons have allowed 64 runs combined over innings 4-6, which is 44.4 percent of the 144 runs Wake has given up this season. In contrast, the Deacs have given up just 34 runs from the seventh inning on. Wake Forest is out-scoring its opponents 53-34 from the seventh inning on and 61-46 during innings 1-3. Wake's laregest scoring inning has been the first, as the Demon Deacons have tallied 30 runs in the frame. Opponents have scored off the Deacs in the fourth inning the most with 26 runs.

-Wake was swept by No. 4 Florida State last weekend in Tallahassee. It was the second straight series the Demon Deacons have been swept, pushing Wake's losing streak to five games. The Seminoles pulled out a couple of one-run games on Friday and Saturday before rolling over Wake, 11-1, on Sunday.
-Wake Forest left 31 runners on base and hit just .188 (6-for-32) with runners in scoring position over the three-game set. The Deacs had a golden opportunity for a win on Friday, putting a runner on third with one out in the 10th inning, but a groundout and a strikeout ended the inning.
-Willy Fox had a solid series at the plate, hitting .385 (5-for-13) with four RBIs. Fox had a hit in all three games to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Allan Dykstra had a game-tying two-run home run in the ninth inning on Friday but hit just .125 (1-for-8) for the weekend. On the mound, Eric Niesen pitched well on Saturday but suffered the loss. Niesen, who struck out a career-best eight batters, gave up four runs (two earned) on five hits in five innings of work. Jose Ellis surrendered his first runs of the season on Sunday.

STREAKING STATS -- Wake Forest was mired in a five-game losing streak from March 13-18, losing two to Ball State and three at Florida State. The Deacons' struggles were largely at the plate where the team left 56 runners on base during the losing streak. In the five games, Wake hit .161 (9-for-56) with runners in scoring position. The Deacs scored 4.2 runs per game during the losing streak. Four of the five losses were one-run defeats.

SEMINOLES STOP ELLIS' STREAK -- Reliever Josh Ellis gave up his first runs of the season on March 18 at Florida State. Ellis entered the series having pitched 14 2/3 scoreless innings this season. He extended that to 16 1/3 but finally succombed with one out in the eighth. Ellis allowed six runners to cross the plate in the inning, but only one of them was earned. In 14 appearances, all in relief, Ellis has an ERA of 0.48. The Lexington, Ky., native has struck out 27 batters and walked just five. Opponents are hitting .194 against Ellis. He is 2-0 with three saves on the season. The save against Virginia on March 9 was the first of Ellis' career.

-Wake Forest was swept in a two-game, mid-week series with Ball State. It was the first time this season that the Deacons were swept in a series. The losses dropped Wake to 3-2 against Mid-American Conference teams this season.
-On Tuesday, Allan Dykstra hit two home runs but the Cardinals pulled out the win, 7-6, with the go-ahead run in the ninth. On Wednesday, the Deacs left 15 runners on base in the 6-5 loss. In both games, Wake led early but let the leads slip away.
-Joel Ernst took a no-hitter into the sixth inning on Wednesday but gave up five runs, two earned, in the inning. Ernst walked the first two batters of the sixth before giving up two hits in the inning. He suffered his first loss of the season.

FOXY DEACON -- Willy Fox was named the ACC Player of the Week on Monday, March 12. Fox had a hit in all five games last week, including two walk-off, game-winning hits. On Tuesday, Fox's two-run double capped a five-run rally in the ninth inning of Wake Forest's 5-4 win over Gardner-Webb. On Friday against No. 4 Virginia, Fox hit his first two home runs of the season in the Demon Deacons' 8-3 win. He became the first player this season to hit a homer off Cavalier lefty Sean Doolittle. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth of Sunday's 7-6 series-clinching win over Virginia. He finished Sunday's game 4-for-5. Fox also went 3-for-4 in Wake's loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday. For the week, Fox finished with a team-best average of .478 and also led the team in hits (11), RBIs (8), slugging percentage (.826) and on-base percentage (.500). For the Virginia series, Fox hit .692 (9-for-13) with six RBIs.

TO ERR(OR) IS HUMAN -- Nine of Wake Forest's 13 wins this season have come when the Deacs have committed two or more errors. Wake is 9-4 in games where it has committed two or more miscues. The Demon Deacons have committed three or more errors on six occasions and have won three of the games. Wake Forest had a season-high four errors in its season-opener against Kent State and won 8-7. In contrast, the Deacons have played five errorless games and have just two wins to show for it.

DEACON DRAMA -- Wake Forest fans should plan on sticking around until the final out this year, no matter what the situation. The Deacons seem to turn it on late, having won six games in the final inning, including five walk-off victories at Hooks Stadium. The Deacs have walked-off against Kent State (Feb. 16), Charlotte (Feb. 27), Gardner-Webb (March 6), High Point (March 7) and Virginia (March 11). Additionally, Wake hit the go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth at San Diego (Feb. 25).
-The Deacs had a thrilling, three-run rally in the ninth inning in their season-opener against Kent State. Down 7-5 going into the last inning, the Deacs managed to score three runs without the ball leaving the infield. Wake loaded the bases with three straight walks to open the frame. One out later, Willy Fox singled home Tyler Smith to cut the deficit to one. Dustin Hood followed by reaching on a fielding error, which scored Brett Linnenkohl with the tying run. Weldon Woodall then grounded a ball into the hole between third base and shortstop to bring home Ben Terry for the game-winning run.
-Wake continued this habit on Sunday, Feb. 25, against San Diego. Going into the ninth inning with the scored tied at three, it was Evan Ocheltree's chance to deliver the late-game heroics. Leading off the inning,  the right fielder hit the go-ahead home run, allowing the Deacs to avoid extra innings and a potential series sweep with a 5-3 win over the Toreros.
-In the Deacs' first extra-inning affair of the season against Charlotte, Tyler Smith's two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th gave Wake Forest a 9-7 comeback win against the 49ers. In his first at-bat of the season, Smith capped a rally that saw the Demon Deacons score seven unanswered runs over the final five innings. Wake had dug itself an early 7-2 hole but fought back to post its fifth win of the season.
-Gardner-Webb dominated Wake Forest for eight innings, holding the Demon Deacon offense to just three hits. Prior to the ninth inning, not one baserunner had made it past second base. Trailing 4-0, Wake rallied with five runs in the bottom of the ninth. Pinch hitter Tyler Smith had a bases-loaded single to score Evan Ocheltree. Brett Linnenkohl followed with a perfectly-placed bunt single to plate Eric Williams. One batter later, Allan Dykstra cut the deficit to 4-3 with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Cory Hindel. Willy Fox followed with a two-out, two-strike double down the left field line. Smith scored the tying run, and Linnenkohl came all the way around from first to score the game-winner.
-The Deacons made it back-to-back walk-off wins with a 6-5, 10-inning victory against High Point. Ean Ocheltree completed Wake's comeback win all on his own in the 10th inning. Ocheltree tripled to lead off the frame, sliding headfirst into third just ahead of the tag. With Weldon Woodall at the plate looking for the game-winning RBI, High Point reliever Tom Boleska uncorked a wild pitch over Woodall's head, and Ocheltree raced home uncontested for the score.
-Wake clinched the Virginia series when Willy Fox singled home Brett Linnenkohl in the bottom of the ninth for the 7-6 win. After UVa homered in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 6-6, the Deacs put together a rally in the bottom of the frame. Eric Williams led off with a walk, Linnenkohl reached on a fielder's choice and Austin Jones singled. Fox came through with a two-out single up the middle, his second game-winning hit of the week.