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Wake Forest baseball team loses 8-7 to Connecticut in College Park Regional

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Wake Forest opened the College Park NCAA Regional with an 8-7 loss to Connecticut on Friday afternoon.

The Demon Deacons (40-18) rallied in the eighth inning to tie the game at 7 but an error, a walk and a hit in the top of the ninth for the Huskies (47-13) was the difference.

“We kind of handed them a run with an error and a walk to start the inning,” Coach Tom Walter of the Deacons said in a Zoom call with journalists after the game.

Wake Forest will now play in an elimination game at 1 p.m. on Saturday against the loser of Friday night’s game between Maryland and Long Island.

The Demon Deacons, the second-seed in the regional, was last in regional play in 2017.

The top of the ninth opened with UConn’s David Smith reaching base on an error by Wake Forest second baseman Pierce Bennett. A little later, a walk by reliever Camden Minacci set up what turned out to be the go-ahead hit from Ben Huber, which landed just in front of diving center fielder Lucas Costello.

Smith scored the go-ahead run, and while Minacci got out of the inning with no further damage, the Deacons went out in order in the bottom of the ninth.

The Deacons were down 7-3 in the eighth when they scored four runs; the big blow was a two-run homer from Adam Cecere that tied the game.

Wake Forest will now play in an elimination game on Saturday.

“Our defense and some walks in some bad situations is what I think it boiled down to,” Walter said. “I just felt like we didn’t really grind enough at-bats….”

Walter said all is not lost with this game, especially with the pitching the Deacons have left.

“We’ll be ready tomorrow,” Walter said. “We’ve had our backs against the wall all year after we lost the first two to (North) Carolina. Since then we’ve had our backs against the wall and they’ve responded every time. We’ve got plenty of pitching to make our way through this regional and we’ve got (Josh) Hartle, (Teddy) McGraw, (Seth) Keener who can start, so the deeper this thing goes the more if favors us.”

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@johndellWSJ

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