DURHAM, N.C. – In a game that saw five home runs, Wake Forest came away with the 8-4 victory over Duke in ACC action Friday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Demon Deacon third baseman Johnny Aiello belted his seventh and eighth long balls of the season to record three RBI and Keegan Maronpot added a seventh-inning solo shot. Junior Jack Labosky and sophomore Griffin Conine both sent a ball out of the yard for Duke (10-10, 2-2 ACC).
Wake Forest (14-5, 3-1 ACC) led by five runs when starter Parker Dunshee (4-1) exited the contest. Dunshee matched his career high with 12 strikeouts, allowing two runs on four hits over seven innings.
“[Dunshee is a] really good competitor,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “We knew he was going to throw a lot of fastballs. This does not take away from his outing because it was a very good one, but we went up there and tried to hit in a very big zone. We swung at a lot of pitches that weren’t our pitch.”
Duke’s Mitch Stallings (1-2) worked through 5.1 innings, dancing in and out of trouble. Ultimately, Stallings yielded five runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts and four walks. Wake Forest tacked on three insurance runs following Stallings’ departure to make Duke’s comeback bid a difficult one.
“I thought Mitch grinded,” Pollard added. “[Wake Forest has] got a good offense. I liked the fact that he went out and put up a couple of zeroes after the third.”
Wake Forest put two men aboard the first two scoreless frames before a three-run third breakthrough. With two outs and a runner on, the Demon Deacons registered back-to-back-to-back extra base hits, including Aiello’s two-run homer, to stake a 3-0 advantage.
“Obviously we have to get off the field there in the third,” Pollard said. “We’re a pitch away from getting off the field with nobody scoring. Credit Wake Forest, their offense is very good.”
Stallings faced the minimum the next two innings to keep the game in check. Labosky notched his first RBI of the game with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly, plating Chris Proctor who singled preceding a Conine double.
Stallings’ day ended in the sixth with Jonathan Pryor’s RBI single. Jake Mueller then added an RBI single up the middle before reliever James Ziemba retired the next two batters.
Wake Forest’s Aiello and Maronpont both notched a seventh-inning solo home run to increase the Wake Forest advantage, 7-1.
Labosky homered in the seventh and Conine sent a two-run job into the right field stands the next frame to pull Duke within a manageable three-run deficit. However, two walks and two hit batters benefitted the Demon Deacons’ ninth and Duke was unable to trim the margin any further in a scoreless bottom half.
The Blue Devils and the Demon Deacons resume their series Saturday, March 18 on ACC Network Extra. Freshman left-hander Adam Laskey takes the hill opposite Wake Forest righty Donnie Sellers at 1 p.m.