WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — With the winning run at third base against a drawn-in infield and one out in the bottom of the 11th, there were many ways Logan Harvey could deliver a walk-off victory for the Deacs.
That’s why Wake coach Tom Walter was disappointed at Harvey for overswinging on the 3-1 offering, which he fouled off.
“Stay short. Get the barrel on it,” Walter yelled to Harvey from his spot in the third base coaching box.
Harvey listened, knocking the next pitch just hard enough between the Quinnipiac shortstop and third baseman for a single to score Johnny Aiello, giving Wake Forest (6-4) a 2-1 victory over the Bobcats Friday night at David F. Couch Ballpark.
“I thought he got a little big on the 3-1 pitch and tried to do a little too much with it,” Walter said of the at-bat that ultimately gave the Deacs a walk-off victory. “Logan is always good at situational at bats. He’s one of these guys you want up there in that situation.”
Wake had scored double-digit runs in four of their last five games. Meanwhile Quinnipiac had allowed an average of 8.42 runs per game so far this season.
Yet the Deacs were unable to get their bats going Friday night.
“We were disappointed in our approach,” Walter said. “They executed and didn’t do much with those pitches. Give Quinnipiac credit. Their pitchers battled. They changed speeds and threw changeups behind in the count to create soft contact. We have to give credit to those guys for pitching a good game.”
Connor Johnstone delivered an outstanding effort on the mound for Wake, allowing just one run in 7 ? innings pitched. He struck out four, while giving up five hits and two walks.
“I thought he threw the ball really well,” Walter said.
John McCarren got the final out of the 8th inning for the Deacs, getting out a two-on, two-out jam after coaxing a soft groundout to the second baseman after throwing just his second pitch.
Closer Griffin Roberts pitched the final three innings for the Deacs, earning the win. He struck out four and allowed two base hits in a scoreless appearance.
“He was outstanding,” Walter said. “He completed, battled and pitched through some adversity. He came up with some huge strikeouts and got the outs we needed.”
The Deacs tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the 8th, but were unable to score in the 9th or 10th to finish the game. Meanwhile, Roberts just continued to toss scoreless frame after scoreless frame.
“Baseball is a funny game. Sometimes the hitters are the ones you lean on, and then there are times you lean on the pitching staff,” Roberts said. “That’s what happened tonight. They leaned on us. I know our hitters are going to put runs on the board, it was my job to give them the opportunity. I knew if I kept doing that, we would win.”
His 43 pitches are just one pitch below a season-high mark of 44 he threw against Houston.
“I definitely started to feel it, as I’ve been closing working one-inning games,” he said. “I felt better than I figured, and I can definitely be ready for tomorrow.”
Walter said there’s still a chance Roberts could contribute in Saturday’s doubleheader against Kent State.
“We’ll see how he feels. He could be used for a one-inning save,” Walter said. “If he needs tomorrow off to feel good Sunday, then that’s what we’ll do. But if he feels good enough, we’ll use him.”
After drawing just one walk the entire game, Wake led off the bottom of the 11th with back-to-back passes by Aiello and Keegan Maronpot.
“They didn’t let the situation dictate their approach. They stayed within themselves and were willing to walk,” Walter said. “There are situations you have to be willing to walk and hand the bat to the next guy. Those guys did that.”
They advanced to second and third base on a wild pitch while Harvey was at the plate, then Harvey delivered the game-winning hit.
The Deacs return to action Saturday with two games against Kent State, starting at 2 p.m. Walter plans to start Parker Dunshee (1-1, 8.44) in game No. 1 and Donnie Sellers (1-0, 4.82) in game No. 2.
They close the weekend at 4 p.m. Sunday against the Radford Highlanders. It’s still to be determined who will start for the Deacs.