Wake Goes Up Against Virginia

April 5, 2001

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Games 31-33
Wake Forest (20-10) vs. Virginia (17-14)
Hooks Stadium

April 6 3:00 p.m.
April 7 1:30 p.m. (WTRU - 830 AM)
April 8 1:30 p.m. (WTRU - 830 AM)

Webcast:
www.wakeforestsports.com (Sat. and Sun.)

Wake Hosts UVa In Important ACC Series
The Demon Deacons return to conference action as they face Virginia this weekend at Hooks Stadium. The three-game set marks the beginning the second half of the ACC schedule.

Following three losses at Florida State, Wake Forest has slipped to 6-6 in the league at the halfway point. The Cavaliers are just one game back at 5-7. The Deacons are in fourth place, tied with Duke who is 4-4. The ?Hoos are tied for sixth with NC State.

Overall, the Deacons are 20-10 following Wednesday's 11-9 home win against UNC Greensboro. Jamie Athas equaled a career-best four hits in the game and Kyle Sleeth picked up the win in relief of starter Ryan Braun.

Virginia comes into the series with an 17-14 record after Thursday's 6-5 loss at Radford.

Scouting the 'Hoos
Virginia is led by first baseman/pitcher Dan Street, the scheduled starter on Sunday. At the plate, Street is hitting .325 with four home runs and 21 driven in. On the hill, Street has been even more impressive with a 2.43 ERA to go with a 2-2 record. Street has a complete game to his credit this year.

Virginia's main power threat is Jon Benick who leads the ACC with 11 home runs.

WFU-UVa: The Series History
Since 1955, Wake holds the all-time series lead 65-54 including a 32-19 mark in Winston-Salem.

The Demon Deacons have won 11 of the last 14 meetings dating back to 1998. Last time the Cavaliers visited Hooks Stadium, in 1999, the Deacons captured a three-game series sweep.

Senior Matt Price has thrived on Virginia pitching with a lifetime average of .500 (7-for-14) with four doubles and six runs.

Greer Seeks 600th Career Victory
Head Coach George Greer enters his 14th season at Wake Forest with a career record of 491-304-3, 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, perhaps even this weekend. The 1969 graduate of Connecticut needs three wins to reach the 600-win plateau for his career, entering the Virginia series. He has a career record of 597-267-7. Greer is nine wins away of reaching 500 wins as the Wake Forest skipper.

Greer is the school's 23rd coach in the program's 87 season history. His 14-year tenure is the longest of any prior Wake Forest baseball coach, ahead of John Caddell's 13 years from 1926-39.

Deacons Love The Lefties
Wake Forest hasn't seen too many southpaw starters this season but the Deacons are a perfect 4-0 against left-handed starters.

The list of victims includes a couple of highly-regarded prospects including James Madison's Adam Wynegar, New Orleans' Tom Lipari and East Carolina's Foye Minton.

This year, opponent southpaw starters have a combined ERA of 9.13 in 21.2 innings pitched against WFU.

Braun Comes Back From Shoulder Injury, Siemon Almost Ready To Return
In late-February and early-March, Wake Forest lost two of its top three starters to injury as both were sidelined with tendonitis in their throwing shoulders.

Ryan Braun missed a month with the injury but returned on March 28 against Old Dominion. He has made three appearances in the last 10 days, going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 10.0 innings.

Top starter Scott Siemon has not pitched since March 6 but is close to returning. The first-team All-ACC selection last season could be back for next weekend's Georgia Tech series.

The absence of the two pitchers has forced Wake Forest to toss some players into the fire. Prior to this season, freshman Kyle Sleeth and seniors Cory Sullivan and Josh Bartlett had a combined 13 innings of college pitching experience.

But they have carried the load combining for 13 starts and 95.2 innings. All have made major contributions as Sullivan has a 2-0 record to go with a 2.13 ERA. Sleeth leads the team with five wins. Bartlett was impressive at East Carolina and Florida State, giving Wake a chance to win both games.

Deja Vu All Over Again?
Flashback to 1999. The Demon Deacons get off to a hot start, going 18-5 before traveling to Greenville to face East Carolina. Wake Forest loses the game, goes to Tallahassee gets swept.

The Deacons come home to take on Virginia, sweep the Cavaliers and go on to win 18 of their final 21, take five straight to win the ACC tournament and advance to the NCAA Super Regional.

Fast forward to 2001. Wake Forest got off to its best start in history with a 17-4 record. The Deacons lost on March 21 at ECU and swept last weekend by the Seminoles.

This weekend, as Virginia comes into town, the Demon Deacons hope to repeat history and take it a step further in the NCAA Tournament by advancing to Omaha.

Clutch City
As a team, Wake Forest is hitting .322 in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. It's no surprise that Wake Forest's best late-inning hitter is Cory Sullivan. The senior centerfielder is hitting .441 (15-for-34) with eight RBI in late inning situations. Sullivan is also hitting .414 with runners in scoring position.

Several other Deacons are getting it done when it matters most, including freshman first baseman Jamie D'Antona who is hitting .433 in late inning situations with a team-best four home runs and 12 runs batted in.

Deacons on Radio / TV
The Saturday and Sunday games of the Virginia series will air on WTRU 830 AM. Stan Cotten will also call the Georgia Tech series in Atlanta next weekend. All ACC and NCAA Tournament games will be carried by WTRU and by www.wakeforestsports.com

The Georgia Tech series in Atlanta will be televised regionally. Fox Sports South will carry all three games.

Cory Sullivan: A Six-Tool Player
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 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 when Scott Siemon and Ryan Braun went down with injuries, Sullivan showed a new element in his game: pitching.

In just three career starts, Sullivan is already 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA and wins against North Carolina and Clemson. His complete game victory against the Tigers earned him ACC Pitcher of the Week honors.

With first team All-ACC pitcher Scott Siemon sidelined for another week and Ryan Braun showing signs of returning to the level that made him the team's No. 3 starter in the preseason, Sullivan's time as a starter may be limited.

Even so, Sullivan has impressed the coaching staff to the point where will be used in some capacity as the season progresses regardless of the injury situation.

Last year, Wake successfully used Danny Borrell as a pitcher, first baseman and designated hitter. Borrell signed after being a second round draft pick of the New York Yankees.

It's All Downhill From Here
Wake Forest has weathered the storm as far as the schedule goes. On paper, the toughest stretch of the 2001 slate has come and gone. Between March 21 and April 1, Wake Forest played seven games against ranked opponents, four of which came on the road. The Demon Deacons went 1-6 during that span.

Wake Forest has played 10 games against ranked opponents, the most of any ACC team. The remaining regular season schedule lists 22 games. Of those 11 opponents, the only ranked team is Georgia Tech, currently ranked third nationally.

 

 

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