After a close battle in game one, the No. 1 Wake Forest dominated and eliminated No. 16 Alabama from playoff contention in the Winston-Salem Regional with a final score of 22-5.
The Demon Deacons started where they left off in game one of the Winston-Salem Series. In similar fashion to game 2, the Deacons opened the first inning with a bang. Wake Forest’s first baseman Nick Kurtz hit a double home run, followed by third baseman Brock Wilken hitting a solo home run giving the Deacons a 3-0 lead. To Alabama’s credit, they looked like they were up for the challenge as they responded immediately with their own double home run by right fielder Andrew Pinckney, closing the game to a 3-2 lead at the end of the first. Unfortunately for the Tide, they couldn’t keep up with the one seed soon after. At his second at bat for the Deacons, Tommy Hawke hit a double home run extending the lead to 5-2. Only to be followed by Brock Wilken who hit a solo home run making it 6-2 now making Wilken the All-Time ACC home run record holder with 70 for his career. He had 30 this season alone.
Alabama interim head coach Jason Jackson did all he could to stop the bleeding by bringing in six different rotation pitchers – to no avail. The best was arguably junior pitcher Hunter Fertado who only played three innings but finished with 4 K’s, 1 hit and 2 walks.
It was a nightmare of a game for Alabama pitching who gave up a total of 18 hits and 22 runs.
The No. 1 seed truly showed their dominance as they stomped the confident and gritty No.16 seed Alabama Crimson Tide (43-20, 16-14 SEC) ending their season.
“I’ve done this a long time, and I’ve never been more proud of a group of individuals than I am of this group” said head coach Jason Jackson.
“The character they’ve shown and the resiliency they’ve shown these past couple of months, I think serve as a great example to hopefully a lot of people.”
Wake Forest will continue their journey on the road to Omaha.
In an exciting game that came down to the wire, No. 16 Alabama fell to No. 1 Wake Forest in game 1 of The Winston-Salem Super Regional.
The Demon Deacons started the game off strong with their center fielder Tommy Hawk hitting a home run against the opening pitch of the game. The deep hit set the tone for Wake Forest as the momentum carried over to the second inning where Justin Johnson hit for a double home-run quickly giving the Deacons a 3-0 lead. In what looked like a long day for the Crimson Tide, they slowly started to turn things around as the Alabama offense slowly started to come alive.
Junior Caden Rose, who scored the winning run in the regional game against Troy, continued his hot postseason by hitting two huge home runs. One coming in the top of third and the second coming in the top of the eighth. The home run provided a much-needed spark to the Crimson Tide as they battled back against Wake Forest’s Rhett Lowder (15-0 as a starter) who ended the day with only 6 K’s. A great take away from a 2x ACC pitcher of the year who is mocked to be a top-ten MLB pick.
“I got some good pitches to hit,” Rose said.
“No offense to this ballpark, but it doesn’t play the biggest. If you get it up here, it’s gonna go out.”
Sophomore pitcher Luke Holman held his own for the Crimson Tide. After a slow start, Holman ended the day with 8 K’s and gave his team a chance for victory before being subbed out for Aidan Moza in the bottom of the sixth.
Before Alabama could continue their hot run, Wake Forest stopped the bleeding as they subbed out Lowder for relief pitcher Sean Sullivan who was able to seal the deal for the Demon Deacons. Sullivan only finished with 6 K’s for the day, but still two more than Lowder in only two innings.
“A well–played game from both sides – we did some good things, they did some good things…” said interim head coach Jason Jackson.