Deacons Win More Than 40 Games For Third Straight Season, Reach NCAA Tournament

May 31, 2000

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - In 2000, the Wake Forest baseball program had yet another successful season. The Deacs reached the NCAA Tournament and won more than 40 games for the third season in a row. The team was ranked in the national polls through most of the season and were ranked as high as 10th.

Wake began the season with a trip to Orlando, Fla. to play in the ACC-Disney Blast. The Deacs opened the round-robin tournament with a 6-3 loss to sixth-ranked and defending national champion Miami. After losing its second game to 24th-ranked Central Florida, Wake upset 14th-ranked Rice 2-1 to earn its first win of the season.

Beginning with the win over Rice, Wake rattled off eight straight wins to improve its record to 8-2. The Deacs gained wins over Campbell, Liberty, High Point and two each over Davidson and Virginia Tech. With the first win over Davidson, a 30-4 win, Wake tied the school record for runs scored in a game and most hits in one inning (14 in the seventh).

The team spent its spring break at the Hormel Foods Classic in Minneapolis, Minn. Wake opened with an 8-5 loss to Notre Dame, but bounced back with wins over Georgia (4-2) and Minnesota (13-6) to capture the tournament championship. Third-baseman Corey Slavik was named tournament MVP.

After returning from Minnesota, Wake defeated the Virginia Commonwealth Rams 13-3 at Hooks Stadium. The Deacs then headed to Greenville, N.C. to take on the East Carolina Pirates. ECU defeated Wake 8-1 to drop the Deacs' record to 11-4.

Next up for Wake was a three-game ACC opening series at North Carolina State. The Deacons opened the series with an 11-0 win behind a strong pitching performance from Scott Siemon. Wake then dropped the final two games of the series 8-6 and 12-4 to drop to 12-6 overall and 1-2 in the ACC.

The week after the N.C. State series, Wake faced six home games in seven days. In the mid-week games, the Deacons defeated Pace (18-7), East Tennessee State (13-5) and Columbia (9-5). For the weekend series, Wake Forest hosted ACC foe and top-ranked Florida State. The Deacs won two-of-three games from the Seminoles, winning the Friday game 7-1 and the Saturday game 7-4, before losing in the series finale 12-4.

On the Wednesday following the FSU series, Wake took on the UNC Greensboro Spartans. Freshman left-handed pitcher Ben Clayton threw a no-hitter to lead the Demon Deacons to a 14-0 victory. The following day, Wake traveled to Lynchburg, Va. for a rematch with the Liberty Flames. Liberty evened the season series with Wake with a 7-5 victory. Following the Liberty game, the team went to Charlottesville, Va. for a three-game series with the Virginia Cavaliers. Wake won the Friday and Sunday games, but narrowly missed sweeping the Cavaliers with a 10-9 loss in the Saturday game.

After a 14-14 tie with UNC Charlotte and a 10-3 win over Appalachian State, Wake traveled to Durham for an ACC series with the Duke Blue Devils. Wake gained its first sweep of an ACC series to improve its ACC record to 8-4.

The next ACC series for the Demon Deacons was at home against the North Carolina Tar Heels. In a battle of highly ranked teams, Wake earned its second consecutive ACC sweep to improve to 29-9-1 overall and 11-4 in conference play.

Wake went back on the road the following weekend to take on the sixth-ranked Clemson Tigers in Clemson. After a rainout of the Friday game, the teams played two games on Saturday. Both games were close throughout, but the Deacons eventually fell in both contests, by scores of 6-5 and 5-4. The Sunday game was another close one, with Wake coming out on top 6-4.

Next up in ACC action for the Demon Deacons was a date with the Maryland Terrapins. With some timely hitting and good pitching, the Terrapins were able to win the Friday and Sunday games, each by a score of 4-2. Wake won the Saturday game 11-0 behind an outstanding pitching performance by junior right-hander Scott Siemon.

After taking a couple of weeks off for exams, Wake Forest returned to action to wrap up its regular season with a series against conference leader Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets won the first two games, but the Deacs were able to salvage the final game of the series with a 9-5 win to end its regular season with a record of 38-16-1 overall and 14-10 in the ACC.

The Deacons entered the ACC Tournament as the No. 4 seed and were matched against the fifth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels. In a game that went back and forth for 13 innings, Wake pulled out the 8-7 victory on a solo home run by junior DH Danny Borrell. However, Wake's bid for a third consecutive ACC Championship was ended by consecutive losses to Georgia Tech (6-3) and Virginia (8-3).

For the third straight season, the Wake Forest baseball team received a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Wake was matched up against the Seton Hall Pirates for the first round of the tournament. The Deacons defeated the Pirates 8-3 to advance to the winner's bracket. Next up was the top-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks. The game was tied at 1-1 until USC broke it open with four runs in the sixth inning and the Gamecocks went on to a 6-1 victory. Up next for the Deacons was a third game with the Liberty Flames. Wake won a close game 4-2 to setup a rematch with South Carolina. Wake jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on home runs by Cory Sullivan and Matt Price, but the Gamecocks came back with big innings in both the fifth and seventh to win 8-4. Wake's season ended with a 41-20-1 record.

For the 2000 season, the Wake Forest baseball team had five players named to All-ACC teams. Junior short stop Chase Voshell and junior right-handed pitcher Scott Siemon were named to the first team, while catcher Dan Conway, center fielder Cory Sullivan and right-handed pitcher Eric Schmitt made the second-team.

The five players is the most Wake has had on the All-ACC teams since 1978. Wake has had at least one player on the first team for the last three seasons in a row.

For the third year in a row, the Wake Forest baseball team earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. In 1998, the Deacs won their first two games in their regional in Gainesville, Fla., but then were defeated in two straight games to end their tournament run. Last season, Wake hosted a regional for the first time at Ernie Shore Field. The Deacs won the regional and advanced to the Super Regional round where they were matched up with eventual-national champion Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The team fell just short of Omaha, losing two straight to the Hurricanes.

This season also marks the eighth time overall that Wake has made the NCAA Tournament. The Deacs were in the NCAAs in 1949, 1955, 1962, 1963, 1977, 1998 and 1999. In 1955, Wake won the College World Series. The Deacons are the only team in the history of the ACC to win the World Series.

Center fielder Cory Sullivan, first baseman Jamie Athas and designated hitter Danny Borrell were all named to the All-Tournament team for the Columbia, S.C. Regional. Sullivan had an outstanding regional, batting .533 over the Deacs' four games in Columbia. He also homered twice and drove in five runs. Athas was 4-for-11 (.364) for the tournament and Borrell was second on the team with four RBI in the tournament and had two doubles.

Wake Forest is one of only 10 Division I schools to compete in post-season play in football, men's basketball and baseball. The Wake Forest football team won the Aloha Bowl and the men's basketball team won the NIT. Arizona State, Florida, Fresno State, Illinois, Miami, Oklahoma, Penn State, Stanford and Texas also competed in post-season play in all three sports. Wake is the only ACC school on the list.

The Wake Forest baseball team is currently on a streak of 164 consecutive games without being shut out. The last time Wake was shut out was on March 24, 1998 when the UNC Charlotte 49ers defeated the Deacs 7-0 at Hooks Stadium.

To lead off the fourth inning in Wake Forest's 2-0 win at UNC Greensboro on Tuesday, April 11, second baseman Jason Aquilante was hit by a pitch for the 23rd time in his career. With that, Aquilante set a new Wake Forest career record. The previous record holder was Mark Melito with 22. Aquilante has currently been hit 28 times in his career. He also set the single season record in the same category, being hit by 14 pitches, breaking the record of 12 he set in the 1999 season.

Junior center fielder Cory Sullivan became just the second player in Wake Forest history to have 100 or more hits in a single season. Sullivan, who had 102 hits this season, joins Jon Palmieri as the only Deacs to reach the century mark in hits. Palmieri collected 112 hits in 1998 and again in 1999.

When Providence College decided to cut its baseball program after the 1999 season, the Providence program's loss was Wake Forest's gain. All three of the Deacs' Providence transfers, Dan Conway, Jamie Athas and Ryan Lewis, contributed to Wake's success in the 2000 season. Conway lead the team in home runs with 14 and was second in RBI with 57. Athas started 46 of the 56 games he played in. He batted .312 with two home runs and 30 RBI. Lewis, a relief pitcher, saw action in 15 games and has a 5.85 ERA.



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