Wake Forest holds off VMI Keydets, 8-4

vmiA five-run sixth inning sparked by a Will Craig home run gave the Wake Forest Demon Deacons a lead they would not surrender, en route to an 8-4 win over the VMI Keydets in NCAA baseball action Sunday in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Keydets (2-2) took a 2-1 lead to the fifth behind a two-run home run by David Geary, but a two-run double off the top of the wall in right-center field by Nate Mondou gave WFU (3-0) the lead for good. It also knocked freshman starter Josh Winder (0-1) from the game and brought in Taylor Edens, but consensus First Team All-American Craig hit a three-run home run to right field to cap the five-run outburst.

Wake added single runs in the seventh and eighth, but the Keydets rallied in the ninth. Three walks, a Matt Pita single and a hit by pitch brought home two runs and got the tying run to the plate in the person of Collin Fleischer. Closer Donnie Sellers relieved and got the game-ending strikeout, as the Keydets fell to defeat.

It was the Keydets who drew first blood, after Jacob Jaye singled with two out in the third. Geary followed with a two-run shot to right center, giving VMI a 2-0 advantage with his first home run of the year.

Mondou led off the fourth with a line drive solo home run, cutting the margin to 2-1 and setting the stage for the crucial fifth inning.

Winder went 4 1/3 innings in his collegiate debut and allowed five runs on seven hits. He struck out four and walked two. Drew Loepprich was the winning pitcher in a spot start, moving to 1-0 with seven innings of two-run ball.

Offensively, Craig led Wake Forest with a 3 for 4, four-RBI night and Geary paced VMI with his three-RBI.

VMI baseball will return to action Tuesday, when the Keydets face the defending national champion Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

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The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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