DURHAM, N.C. — Ten Blue Devils came to bat in the bottom of the 6th inning — a frame that just wouldn’t end for the Deacs as Duke tallied five runs on four hits, two errors, a hit by pitch and a wild pitch.
It was all Duke needed, as the Wake bats were uncharacteristically silent in a 7-3 loss Saturday afternoon at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
“We had a bad inning in the 6th. We had a couple plays that need to get made, I think. We thought we had a strikeout there and we didn’t get the call, but we have to make a better pitch,” Wake Forest coach Tom Walter said. “It was a combination of walks, errors and they got some big hits. That one inning was a culmination of things that led to that five-spot. We have to keep that to a one-or-two run inning, then it changes the landscape of the game.”
The Deacs six base hits were their least since returning from Houston to open the season.
“We faced a lot of off-speed. Through four innings, we had the game right where we wanted it. Their starter was at 80 pitches, and we were making hard contact,” Walter said. “In the 5th and 6th, he did a good job getting his change-up over and we went six up, six down. We need to get base runners there and put more pressure on them in the 5th and 6th.”
Wake first baseman Gavin Sheets entered the weekend as the NCAA leader in RBIs, but is 0-for-8 so far this weekend against Duke.
“He’s rolling over a bit too much,” Walter said. “He going to let the ball get a little deeper, and see the ball a little longer. He’ll have a good day tomorrow.”
Stuart Fairchild’s 3-run home run in the 3rd inning provided the only scoring for the Deacs.
Behind a 12-strikeout performance from starting pitcher Parker Dunshee, the Deacs took game one in the three-game series Friday night 8-3.
The rubber game is set for 1 p.m. back at DBAP Sunday.
“We’re right where we want to be. We have a chance to win a series on the road. We have Connor Johnstone on the mound, who has been throwing the ball well,” Walter said. “We’re going to have a rested John McCarren and Griffin Roberts behind him. We like our chances to win this series on the road.
“That’s what you have to do in this league when you have a chance. When you win the first game on the road, you have to find a way to at least split those last two. We have a good opportunity to do that tomorrow.”