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Wake Forest 4, Boston College 3: Eagles Rally, but Deacons Take Game One in Ninth

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Down 3-0 in the sixth, BC executes a comeback, but Joey Rodriguez walks off in the bottom of the ninth to take game one of a crucial weekend set.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Rodriguez singled off of reliever Justin Dunn with one out in the bottom of the ninth, and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons defeated Boston College, 4-3, in the first game of their three-game conference series this weekend.

Tied at 3-3, Nick Bisplinghoff doubled off Jesse Adams to start the final frame. That sent Mike Gambino to his bullpen for Justin Dunn. Drew Freedman laid down a sacrifice bunt, which Dunn fielded off the mound. Dunn attempted to throw out Bisplinghoff at third, but BC couldn't tag the runner, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Dunn responded by striking out Jonathan Pryor, but the next batter, Rodriguez, sent a 1-1 pitch into center, scoring Bisplinghoff and walking off. It was officially ruled an RBI single.

It was a game where BC trailed 3-0 after the Wake Forest offense woke up early. Pryor led off the game with a single against Eagles starting pitcher Jeff Burke but was thrown out trying to steal second by Nick Sciortino. It was a common gameplan employed by the Deacs, who did attempted another steal after Rodriguez walked. This time, however, Wake was successful, putting a runner on second with one out. Nate Mondou grounded to short but advanced the runner, and with a runner on third, Will Craig singled to left, giving the Deacs a 1-0 lead.

The inning continued as Justin Yurchak drew a four-pitch walk, and Craig scored from second when Stuart Fairchild hit a ground rule double. Burke got out of the inning with a strike out, but Wake Forest had a 2-0 lead with the game barely getting underway in a reversal of fortune from the way BC started its last several contests.

Wake increased the lead to 3-0 in the fifth when Mondou drilled a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence for a solo homer before BC started its comeback. Starting pitcher Matt Pirro was removed to start the sixth in favor of reliever John McCarren, and the Eagles went to work almost immediately. Donovan Casey singled a 2-0 pitch up the middle, advancing to second two batters later when Joe Cronin grounded to third. Nick Sciortino scored him with a two-out single to left center, cutting the lead to 3-1.

BC added another one in the seventh when with two outs, Michael Strem blasted his first career homer over the left field wall. That chased McCarren from the hill in favor of Parker Dunshee. Welcome to the game by a Chris Shaw double, Dunshee ran into more trouble when the runner moved up to third on a passed ball. After Casey walked, with runners at the corners, Sauter grounded out, ending the threat but mounting the pressure against the beleaguered Deacon pitching staff.

Dunshee again ran into trouble in the eighth, but this time BC broke through. Cronin led off the inning with a single, moving up to second on a throwing error by shortstop Zach Piazza. Nick Sciortino sacrificed him over to third with a bunt, giving the Eagles the tying run at third with one out. Dunshee nearly got out of the jam after he struck out pinch hitter Scott Braren, but he plunked Jake Palomaki to put runners on the corners. That's when Blake Butera singled the first he saw up the middle, tying the game.

The good vibes wouldn't last, however, as BC left two on in the ninth with a chance to take the lead before Wake Forest won the game in the ninth.

Jesse Adams (1-2) shouldered the loss, throwing an astounding 5.1 innings in relief of Jeff Burke. He allowed just two hits and two runs, surrendering the homer to Mondou and charged with the winning run in the ninth. He struck out six and walked only one. Burke was lifted after just 2.2 innings, having given up six hits and three walks while striking out two. Both Burke and Adams threw the same amount of pitches (63). Dunn retired one batter via a strikeout but gave up the hit that would win the game.

For Wake Forest, Dunshee (5-0) picked up the win despite giving up four hits over 2.1 innings. He did give up the one run, striking out four and walking one. He threw 51 pitches in his short outing.

Pirro threw five innings to start the game on 94 pitches, walking five and dealing with some control issues while striking out two. He hit one batter and only gave up one hit, but he managed to not allow a run. McCarren threw 1.2 innings, giving up two runs on three hits. Wake's defense committed three errors.

At the dish, Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI for the Deacs, and Fairchild went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Mondou and Craig both went 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI apiece.

For BC, Shaw had a multi-hit game at 2-for-4 but failed to score or drive in a run. Michael Strem went 1-for-3 with the solo homer, and Blake Butera had an RBI base hit. Sciortino went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

The teams will return to battle at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park on Saturday for a 4 PM first pitch.