02/20/2023 8:58 AM
Article By: Michael Lane
Wake Forest has massive expectations this season, entering the year ranked sixth overall by D1Baseball. Despite having a solid pitching staff, highlighted by Seth Keener (Bourne ‘22) and Sean Sullivan (Harwich ‘22), Wake Forest’s ceiling will rely on their offensive production.
Over their first four games, the Demon Deacon lineup combined for 13 home runs and 45 runs. Nick Kurtz (Harwich ‘23) led the way, slashing .500/.684/1.500 with four home runs and 10 RBI. Brock Wilken (Harwich ‘21/’22) had a relatively quiet weekend by his standards, but still had two home runs and six walks.
Debut Ducks Shine
The Oregon Ducks opened up the season with a four-game sweep of the Xavier Musketeers. After losing a handful of players to last year’s MLB Draft, including Anthony Hall (Falmouth ‘21), the Ducks roster features a lot of new faces. Owen Diodati (Wareham ‘21/’22) and Rikuu Nishida (Hyannis ‘22) were brought in as transfers to strengthen the top half of the Ducks lineup.
In the series-opening win, Diodati drove in Tanner Smith (Y-D ‘21) in the first inning, before bringing in Nishida on a walk-off sac fly in the ninth. Nishida finished the weekend reaching base six times, driving in five runs, and scoring four more.
GCU Creates Havoc
Grand Canyon University (GCU) participated in The Desert Invitational this weekend, going 2-1 with another game scheduled Monday against Michigan State. Their weekend was highlighted by a 4-3 victory over #2 ranked Tennessee, in front of an amazing student section that got some national attention on MLB Network.
Jacob Wilson (Orleans ‘22) showed why he will be an early first round pick this July. Wilson slashed .364/.417/.727 with a pair of triples over the weekend. Homer Bush Jr. (Y-D ‘22) shined offensively, hitting .333, and defensively with a great diving catch Friday.
Moment of the Weekend
In an action packed opening weekend, the most exciting moment came from Landon Wallace (Wareham ‘23) Friday night. The future Gatemen gave West Virginia a 2-1 lead with a straight steal of home. Read more about Wallace’s background here!