DURHAM, N.C. – Wake Forest utilized free offense to turn a one-all stalemate after five frames into an 11-2 series-clinching victory Sunday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Wake Forest (15-6, 4-2 ACC) totaled six hits in the contest while Duke (11-11, 3-3 ACC) had seven, but the Demon Deacons benefitted from eight walks, five hit batters and four errors to transform a tightly contested ballgame into a nine-run victory.
Duke’s Ryan Day held the potent Wake Forest lineup in check over five innings, yielding one unearned run on one hit in the no decision. From the sixth through the eighth, Wake Forest totaled two hits – both doubles – but scored seven runs against the Blue Devil bullpen. The Demon Deacons doubled their hits with three in a three-run ninth.
“I thought that Ryan [Day] gave us a good start,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “It was ugly after that. We’ve got to get better. The reality is, we’re right in that ballgame. We just can’t give away free bases. [Wake Forest] is one of the best offenses in the country coming into today’s game. They had six hits and probably 20 free bases. You can’t do that against a good club.”
Junior Peter Zyla roped a two-out, two-strike double down the right field line to knot the game at 1-1 in the fourth. Wake Forest regained the upper hand to start the sixth after Ben Breazeale doubled and eventually scored on Keegan Maronpot’s sacrifice fly.
The game unraveled for Duke the next two innings as Wake Forest was able to put six runs on the board while recording just one hit, a Jonathan Pryour seventh-inning RBI double.
Duke’s James Ziemba (2-2) allowed one run on one hit in the sixth to suffer the loss. Wake’s Connor Johnstone (2-0) permitted one run on five hits over seven innings to record the win.
Duke steps away from conference play for a midweek matchup against UMES Tuesday, March 21 at the DBAP.