WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest first baseman Matt Conway had two home runs to help the Demon Deacons defeat Maryland, 6-4, and take game one of the weekend series Friday night at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Stadium.
Conway’s two homers accounted for three Wake Forest runs (21-11, 9-4 ACC) and spoiled a come-from-behind-effort by the Terrapins (18-9, 5-7 ACC). The Terps erased an early three-run deficit to tie the game at three in the fourth before Conway’s solo homer in the sixth proved to be the decisive blow.
For Maryland, Jose Cuas continued his strong recent form at the plate. The sophomore third baseman went 2-for-3 with three RBI and now has a team-high 17 on the season. Over the last 10 games, Cuas leads the team with a .382 batting average and has driven in 11 runs.
Terrapin starter Jake Stinnett turned in a solid performance, but was victimized by few unlucky bounces and two mistakes to Conway. Stinnett struck out nine over seven innings and after a three-run first retired 13 of the next batters before Conway’s second home run.
After going down 3-0 early, the Terps cut into the deficit in the top of the second. Maryland started the inning with back-to-back singles from Anthony Papio and Kevin Martir. After a sacrifice bunt moved them up, Cuas picked up his 15th RBI with a chopper to third that plated Papio.
Maryland tied the game in the fourth with Cuas coming through for the Terps once again. Papio and Martir jump started the inning by getting on base with a hit-by-pitch and walk, respectively. With one out, Cuas drove the first pitch of the at-bat off the wall in left center scoring Martir and Blake Schmit all the way from first tying the ballgame at three.
The game remained tied until the sixth. After Stinnett struck out the first two batters of the inning, Conway smacked a 1-0 pitch to left center for his second home run of the game to give the Deacs a 4-3 lead. The score remained that way until the eighth when Wake scored on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch and a walk.
Maryland attempted a second comeback in the ninth with Brandon Lowe coming through with a two-out RBI single to left scoring Cuas. But Demon Deacon closer Aaron Fossas got LaMonte Wade to ground out to second on the next at-bat for the final out and his seventh save of the season. Wake Forest starter Jack Fischer improved to 4-2 with the win, while Stinnett fell to 3-4.
Evan Stephens started Wake Forest’s three-run first with a leadoff double. With runners at the corners, Charlie Morgan hit a sacrifice fly to plate the opening run. Matt Conway followed with a two-run home run to left center.
Maryland and Wake Forest are scheduled to play game two Saturday at 4 p.m. from Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park.