WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The frame lasted more than 45 minutes, as Wake brought 15 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 6th, collecting nine hits and plating 10 decisive runs.
Wake center fielder Stuart Fairchild hit a grand slam home run that inning — his second long ball of the game, as the Deacs (24-10) turned a 5-0 deficit into a 19-9 win over defending national champion Coastal Carolina (20-12-1) Tuesday night at David F. Couch Ballpark.
“You’re obviously always worried when you’re down five runs to the defending national champs, and a really good club,” Wake coach Tom Walter said. “I figured we’d score, but with a game tomorrow we were hoping to conserve some pitching. I wasn’t sure how we were going to get the 27 outs today, then come back and get the 27 tomorrow (against Elon). Fortunately we had the big inning and it gave us some breathing room to where we didn’t have to pitch (John) McCarren, (Morgan) McSweeney or (Griffin) Roberts.”
The Deacs started Drew Loepprich, who went three innings. The win went to redshirt freshman Bobby Hearn, in his first collegiate appearance.
“Really happy for Bobby. He’s put so much work in, and he’s such a good teammate and worker,” Walter said. “I’m happy for him to go out there and get some big outs for us and get in the win column.”
Hearn struck out three batters as he allowed one hit and two runs in his 1 ? innings pitched.
The Deacs bats were silent early.
“Give credit to their starting pitcher. He was effectively wild in those first four innings. We couldn’t get any clean swings against him,” Walter said. “He would throw a ball, and then locate a pitch. He’d throw a ball and then locate another pitch. He kept us off balance and did a really nice job.”
Fairchild finished 3-for-5 at the plate with career highs in both RBIs (7) and home runs. Gavin Sheets homered after Fairchild in the 6th and had four hits in six plate appearances. Bruce Steel and Jonathan Pryor also contributed a trio of base hits apiece.
“The big plays in the game were the two-out double by Bruce Steel to get us on the board. Then coming back the next inning we got a two-strike hit by Bruce, a good walk by Keegan Maronpot, then a great bunt by Jake Mueller to kind of get that inning rolling,” Walter said. “We finally in that inning put quality at-bats together back-to-back-to-back, which is what we need to do.
“We talk to our guys all the time about sticking to the process. We don’t want them to worry about the result — just go out there and have a quality at bat and grind. When you get to two strikes, you have to find a way against good pitchers to get the barrel on the ball. We did that.”
The Deacs play at Elon (16-17) at 6 p.m. and then host Notre Dame (14-17, 7-8) for a weekend series at The Couch.