Wake Forest to Host NC State This Weekend
March 22, 2007
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.
MID-WEEK LEFTOVERS --
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.
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.
FLORIDA STATE LEFTOVERS --
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.
BALL STATE LEFTOVERS --
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).
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