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Deacons remain in ACC Championship’s Pool B hunt with 10-9 win over UVA
DURHAM, N.C. (theACC.com) – Tenth-seeded Wake Forest rallied from an early four-run deficit and kept its Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship title hopes alive with a 10-9 win over third-seeded Virginia on Friday afternoon.
Kevin Conway, Joey Rodriguez and Will Craig all hit two-run homers, and Nate Mondou and Johnny Ailello added solo shots as the Demon Deacons (34-24, 1-1 in Pool B) remained in the round-robin tournament picture. The Demon Deacons will face sixth-seeded Clemson (40-18, 2-0) in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game, while Virginia (36-20, 0-2) meets second-seeded Louisville (47-11, 1-1) at 7 p.m.
The team emerging from Pool B will face the Pool A winner – top-seeded Miami or fourth-seeded Florida State – for the championship at noon on Sunday.
Wake Forest trailed 5-1 entering the bottom of the fourth on Friday, but Conway’s two-run homer sparked a three-run inning for the Deacons. Rodriguez and Craig followed with their double-barrel two-run shots in the bottom of the fifth to put Wake up 8-5.
The Deacons maintained a 10-7 lead heading into the top of the ninth before the Cavaliers nicked Craig – Wake’s closer – for a pair of runs and put the tying run on base with two outs. But Craig retired Nate Eikhoff on a ground ball to second base to earn his eighth save of the season.
Craig finished 3-for-4 at the plate and Conway drove in three runs to key Wake Forest’s 10-hit attack. Garrett Kelly (1-2), the second of four Deacon pitchers, earned the win on the mound.
Craig’s homer was his 16th of the season, tying him for the ACC lead with freshman Seth Beer of Clemson, who also went deep earlier in the day in the Tigers’ win over Louisville.
Virginia’s Daniel Pinero hit his second home run of the ACC Championship, and Adam Haseley drove in three runs for the Cavaliers with a pair of triples. Haseley and Pavin Smith each finished 3-for-5 at the plate as Virginia collected 13 hits as a team.
Starting pitcher Alec Bettinger (2-5) took the loss for the Cavaliers. He worked four innings, allowing five hits and six earned runs while walking two batters and striking out five.