WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest jumped out to an early lead and broke the game open with a grand slam in the fourth to take the series opener, 10-2, over No. 14 Duke Friday evening at David F. Couch Ballpark.
Up 3-0 at the end of the first, Wake Forest (13-18, 6-7 ACC) received a solo home run from Chris Lanzilli in the third before Johnny Aiello belted a fourth-inning grand slam to give the Demon Deacons a commanding advantage. Aiello finished the evening 2-for-4 with seven RBI.
Adam Laskey (5-2) suffered his first loss since opening day, surrendering eight runs on nine hits over 3.1 innings. Wake Forest’s Griffin Roberts (3-3) pitched eight innings in the win, yielding two run on five hits while striking out eight.
“We knew we were going to have our hands full,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “[Roberts is] producing more swings and misses than anybody in the league. He’s got a real wipeout slider. We didn’t swing and miss as much as some other people have against him, but we couldn’t find holes and we couldn’t string at bats together. He pitched a good ballgame.”
Joey Loperfido accounted for the first Duke (26-6, 9-4 ACC) run, sending a solo shot out to right field in the seventh, his fifth longball of the season. Three straight Blue Devils singled in the eighth, culminating with Chris Proctor’s bases-loaded RBI single to score Duke’s second run.
“We’re not going to give away at bats,” Pollard said. “This team is too mature and has too much pride in what we do to give anything away or lay down or not play hard. I really don’t have any issue with our effort or energy tonight.”
Right-hander Hunter Davis provided Duke a boost out of the bullpen, throwing three scoreless innings in relief to keep Wake Forest off the board over the final frames.
“Those are three big zeroes [Davis] put on the board there,” Pollard added. “Keep the game right where it was. Keep us from having to go deeper into the pen. That’s twice he’s done that for us this week. That’s six really good innings for him this week.”
Duke and Wake Forest reconvene for the second game of the series at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 8 at David F. Couch Ballpark on ACC Network Extra.