Wake Faces Tennessee Tech In NCAA Regional

May 22, 2001

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NCAA Regional
Wake Forest (41-16) at Lindsey Nelson Stadium (Knoxville, TN)

Radio: 830 AM WTRU / www.wakeforestsports.com

Game One: #1 Wake Forest (41-16) vs. #4 Tennessee Tech (32-28)
Friday, 2:00 p.m.

Remaining Games: TBA

Deacons To Make 4th Straight NCAA Run
Wake Forest makes its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, its ninth overall.

The Demon Deacons earned an automatic bid by capturing the ACC Tournament last weekend in Fort Mill, SC. The selection committee dealt Wake Forest a number one seed in the Knoxville, Tenn., regional hosted by the University of Tennessee.

The Demon Deacons are in Knoxville with the second-seeded Volunteers, third-seeded Middle Tennessee State and fourth-seeded Tennessee Tech.

Wake Forest has never faced any of its subregional opponents.

Wake faces Tennessee Tech on Friday at 2 p.m. in game one.

Wake Forest Claims Another ACC Crown
The Demon Deacons captured their third ACC crown in four seasons with a 17-4 trouncing of NC State in Sunday's championship game at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, SC.

It was Wake's fourth-ever ACC tournament title.

Wake Forest defeated UNC, Virginia, Georgia Tech and NC State to win the championship.

Dave Bush was named the tournament's most valuable player. He was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates Cory Sullivan, Corey Slavik and Jamie D'Antona.

History 201: Deacons in the NCAA Tourney
Wake Forest sets a new school record with its fourth straight NCAA Tournament berth.

The venture down I-40 marks the third time in four years Wake Forest will travel to an SEC school to begin NCAA play.

Last season, the Demon Deacons were eliminated by South Carolina in Columbia. In 1998, Wake Forest was bounced by Illinois at Florida's sub-regional in Gainesville.

In 1999, the Demon Deacons hosted a subregional in Winston-Salem and advanced to a super regional hosted by Miami where they were swept by the Hurricanes in Coral Gables.

Wake Forest owns the ACC's only national championship, a title earned by the Demon Deacons in Omaha in 1955.

Bush Named ACC Tournament MVP
Closer Dave Bush was selected as the ACC Tournament's Most Valuable Player by a vote of the media in attendance.

Bush took the hill in four of Wake Forest's five tournament games. He did not allow a run in 8.1 innings, recording a 1-0 record with two saves.

The junior out of Devon, Pa., enters the NCAA Tournament on a roll. He has allowed just two earned runs in 21.2 innings since April 18. Sullivan Named Howser Award Semifinalist

Senior Cory Sullivan was chosen by the Writers' Association as one of the 20 semifinalists for the Howser Award, given to the nation's top player.

Sullivan has been the Deacons' best hitter all season out of the leadoff spot. He has also unexpectedly become the team's top starter. Sullivan finished among the ACC leaders in every offensive category and several pitching categories. He was tabbed by Baseball America as one of the country's top three senior outfielders.

D'Antona Named ACC Rookie of the Year
Freshman first baseman Jamie D'Antona was elected ACC Rookie of the Year by the league's nine coaches, the league announced on Monday.

D'Antona led all ACC first year players in batting average, home runs and RBI.

D'Antona was also named to the ACC All-Tournament team after hitting .368 with two home runs and six RBI.

Early in the season, D'Antona gave some clues that he would be an impact player as a freshman.

In just his second game in a Wake Forest uniform, D'Antona belted three doubles in one game against Penn State, tying a school record. It was part of a 13-game hitting streak for the rookie from Trumbull, Conn. He hasn't let up. All he's done this season is bat .361 with 12 home runs. His 68 RBI rank third among the country's first basemen, behind Dan Johnson of Nebraska and Philip Hartig of The Citadel, both seniors. D'Antona has been recognized by Baseball America as the nation's best freshman first baseman.

Burning Bush
Junior closer Dave Bush leads the ACC in saves (15), appearances (39) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.6) entering the NCAA tournament and is second nationally in saves (15) as of May 21.

Bush doesn't fit the traditional mold of a closer as he is second on the team in innings and first in strikeouts. Several times this season, Bush has been called upon in the seventh, or even the sixth inning.

He has struck out the side on six occasions, an incredible feat for a pitcher who has thrown just 67 innings.

Bush is Wake Forest's all-time leader in saves (24) and appearances (109).

Greer Climbs the ACC Coaching Wins Chart
Head coach George Greer is the fifth winningest coach in ACC history with 512 wins in his 14th seasons at Wake Forest. He needs just one more win to tie Sam Esposito for fourth place.

Earlier this season, Greer became just the seventh coach in ACC history to reach the 500-win plateau on April 20 with an 8-7 win over NC State at Ernie Shore Field.

His overall record is 618-432-7 in 20 seasons as a Division I head coach, including six at Davidson.

The "G-Man" coached his 1,000th Division I game last season in the NCAA Sub-Regional in Columbia, S.C.

Class Of 2001
Heading into NCAA tournament play, the Class of 2001 has an overall, four-year record of 172-75-1, a winning percentage of .696.

The winning percentage is the highest four-year rate since 1964. The 172 wins are the most in history, four more than the class of 2000 which posted 168 wins.

This class finished with ACC record of 59-35, a winning percentage of .628. The 59 wins are the most of any other four-year span in school history.

The Class of 2001 is making its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. No other class in the illustrious history of Demon Deacon baseball can make that claim.

Wake Leads ACC With Seven All-League Picks
As they did for most of tournament week in Fort Mill, the Demon Deacons made headlines by placing six players into seven spots on the ACC's All-Conference teams.

Cory Sullivan was chosen twice, as an outfielder and as a pitcher. The seven selections were the most for Wake Forest in 45 years, since 1956.

Sullivan was chosen all-conference for the second straight year. All of Wake Forest's other selections were first time honorees.

Wake Forest's Seven All-ACC Selections

Aquilante Playing Through The Pain
After being beaned 34 times in his four-year career, Wake Forest's all-time leader in that category, everyone already knew catcher Jason Aquilante was a tough kid.

He's back at it again. On Friday April 20 against NC State, Aquilante broke the little finger in his right (throwing) hand while catching warmup pitches from Dave Bush between innings.

Initially, it was believed Aquilante would miss four-to-six weeks due to the insertion of a pin that would speed up the healing process.

Less than 48 hours later, the Deacons were playing their final home ACC game of the season. With a big lead in hand, Aquilante persuaded head coach George Greer into letting him pinch-hit in the seventh inning. He remained the game to play second base, his position for the first three years of his college career.

The next day against Liberty, Aquilante homered. Remarkably, since the injury, he has hit .393 (22-for-56) with seven extra base hits and ten RBI.

Deacons Rank Among Nation's Top Offenses In the latest NCAA stats, released May 22, the Demon Deacons rank 10th in scoring at 8.81 runs per game and 14th with a .330 batting average.

The highest scoring team in the NCAA Tournament in Southern who averages 9.87 runs. Wisc.-Milwaukee leads tourney teams with a .354 team batting average.

Wake Forest is among the nation's leaders as just two everyday players in the batting order has a batting average under .300 (2B Nick Blue - .283 and OF Matt Price - .287).

Deacons Love The Lefties
Wake Forest hasn't seen too many southpaw starters this season but the Deacons are an impressive 9-1 against left-handed starters.

The list of victims includes a couple of highly-regarded pitchers including Virginia's Brandon Creswell (twice), 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 8.53 in 58.0 innings pitched against Wake Forest bats.

The only time the Demon Deacons were unable to post a victory against a lefty was on April 18, a 3-1 loss at High Point. David White shut down the Deacons but did not earn the victory.

Records Are Made To Be Broken
The 2001 Demon Deacons on pace to break several team batting records. This year's edition is averaging 8.8 runs per game, slightly better than the 1999 team whose 8.7 average is the current watermark.

Wake Forest has already smashed the school record for stolen bases and now have 89 thefts.

California Dreamin'
A look at the Demon Deacon roster reveals an unusual quality for an ACC team. Wake Forest has seven California natives.

Second baseman Nick Blue (Saratoga) and right fielder Ryan Johnson (Laguna Hills) are everyday players in the Wake Forest lineup.

Ryan Braun (Fresno) and Ben Clayton (San Leandro) are two of the team's best starters while Ryan Lewis (Newport Beach) is a top arm out of the bullpen.

Josh Hansen (Santa Ana) and Gregory Russell (Glendale) have been impressive as freshmen.

That list doesn't include Cory Sullivan, a Pittsburgh native, who came to Wake from Cypress Junior College in California.

Been There, Done That
Three current Deacons have made NCAA All-Regional teams. In 2000, Cory Sullivan and Jamie Athas made the team in Columbia, SC. Matt Price was on the 1999 squad in Winston-Salem. In 1998, in Gainesville, Corey Slavik was on the team.

Streaks, Trends, Stats and Misc. Info ...
Wake Forest is 36-0 when leading after seven innings ... about 1/3 of strikeouts by Wake pitchers have been looking ... sixteen of Wake Forest's 17 runs in the ACC Championship game came with two outs ... Jamie D'Antona owns the team's longest hitting streak at 12 games ... he started the season with a 15-game streak ... Cory Sullivan has reached base in all 56 games this season ... as the leadoff hitter in an inning, Sullivan reaches base 49.0% of the time ... Jason Aquilante saw his 13-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday against NC State.

A Second Helping of the Misc. Info
Stan Cotten, voice of the Deacons, is a Tennessee graduate and grew up near Knoxville ... Wake's last game in the state of Tennessee was on April 5, 2000, a 15-1 win at ETSU ... Nick Blue had a career-high four hits in the ACC title game after going 0-for-9 in the first four games ... Wake is hitting .346 off lefties compared to .324 vs. righties ... Ryan Johnson is hitting a team-best .435 (20-for-46) with runners in scoring position ... opposing pinch-hitters are batting .160.

 

 

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