WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest pounded out 18 hits in a 15-8 win over UNCG Tuesday night at the David F. Couch Ballpark.
The Deacs (2-3) doubled their offensive output on the season, scoring exactly the same amount of runs as their first four games combined.
“In Houston, we were trying to get two hits in one at-bat,” Wake leadoff hitter Jonathan Pryor said. “We took what they were giving tonight and stayed in our approach.”
Pryor went 5-for-5 in the win, with a home run, three runs scored and five RBI.
“I felt really good in batting practice today,” Pryor said. “I just wanted to stay within my skill set and wait for a pitch to sit on. Once I got it, I felt like I was right on time for it.”
Pryor’s three-run bomb in the bottom of the 3rd capped a six-run inning for the Deacs. It was a towering shot that went 411 feet, sailing over the right field wall.
“It was a 3-1 change-up,” Pryor said about the blast. “He threw two for balls earlier in the at-bat. He missed down. I knew it was a situation where I wanted to drive in a run, so I wanted to be aggressive. He hung the change-up and I was able to stay on it.”
Wake Forest coach Tom Walters said it was good to get the bats going after struggling a bit in their first four contests.
“It was good. Obviously it started with the top of our order. Jonathan Pryor had a great day and Logan Harvey had some great at-bats in there behind him. Stu (Stuart Fairchild) is swinging the bat really well,” he said. “Our first three batters today were all tough outs. It was good for us today to get those 18 hits and get the monkey off our backs. Sometimes guys early in the season guys look at their batting average a little too much and feel a little pressure. So it’s good to have guys go out there and get multiple hits, to get feeling good and comfortable in the box.”
The prosperity still hasn’t extended to clean-up hitter Gavin Sheets, who is batting .105 on the season after going 0-4 Tuesday.
“He’s trying a little too hard and they’re pitching him tough. We haven’t been swinging it well behind him, and they’re executing pitches on him,” Walter said. “The past five games, pitchers have really zoned in on him. We need to get somebody going in the five-hole behind Gavin so we can get him going. We know it’s coming.”
Catcher Ben Breazeale returned to the lineup as a designated hitter Tuesday, after being pulled from the first game in Houston where he missed the rest of the weekend.
“I think we’ll get him back behind the plate this weekend, and we’re excited about that,” Walter said.
John McCarren earned the victory for the Deacs on the mound after throw three scoreless innings in relief.
“John McCarren was obviously really good to go out there and calm that game down and give us a chance for the bats to heat up,” Walter said. “He made a big pitch, got a double play ball, then we come up and score six to get some breathing room.”
Walter used a total of eight pitchers.
“Drew Loepprich and Griffin Roberts threw the ball really well today. Out situational guys we’re really happy with today — Holden White and Shane Kubrak got the lefties out like they were supposed to,” he said. “Rayne Supple threw the ball well, but walked some guys. We’ll make those adjustments.”
The Deacs will host Southern Cal (3-0) for a three-game series this weekend. The series begins at 4 p.m. Friday with Parker Dunshee getting the start for the Deacs. Walter plans to start reigning ACC Pitcher of the Week Connor Johnstone in the 4 p.m. game Saturday, then Donnie Sellers in the 1 p.m. Sunday matchup.