Wake Forest media weighs-in on Super Regional match-up
By WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Tyler White
In order to reach the College World Series, Alabama must go through the most dominant team in college baseball.
Wake Forest baseball boasts an NCAA best 50 – 10 record this season, but this season is different than usual for the Demon Deacons.
“Two years ago they didn’t make the NCAA tournament and they were seven games under five hundred, they didn’t even make the ACC tournament for that matter,” said WSJS radio host Josh Graham. “Now they’re the number one team in the country, so this is not one of these powerhouses that just expects to be there, this is kind of like the stars aligning.”
Perhaps the stars have aligned for Wake Forest this season or maybe it is simply a fantastic baseball team. One thing is for sure, don’t expect Demon Deacons to do many favors for the Tide.
“Wake is not a team that beats itself very often,” said Conor O’Neill, the publisher of Deacon Illustrated. “They don’t really walk many batters; they don’t give up free bases. You’re going to have to go out and put pressure on them. You’re going have to kind of create your own opportunities.”
Out of 295 Division I baseball teams, Alabama (105) is one of 25 that have hit over 100 home runs this season. To be competitive this weekend the Tide will have to advantage of its home run potential.
“Wakes ballpark is pretty hitter friendly especially down the line,” O’Neill said. “Wake’s pitchers don’t pitch up in the zone all that often. They do get a lot of ground balls, but if you leave the ball up against a team with over 100 homers this year you could get some high scoring games in this super (regional).”
One advantage the Tide is it’s been put through fire this season. Besides the SEC competition, the team has dealt with “off-the-field” distractions. Then-head coach Brad Bohannon was fired at the end of April. Since then, Alabama has won 13-of-17 games.
It is fair to wonder if a team like Wake Forest, that has not lost consecutive games at any point this season, possesses that ‘mental fortitude’.
“They’ve been dominant and at no point did they feel tested last weekend,” said Graham. “If they do get tested this weekend that will be a question that nobody has the answer to until it actually happens.”
Game 1 of the Winston-Salem Super Regional is Saturday at 11 a.m. central time.