Nine of the teams' combined 13 runs came in the 10th inning Monday night; unfortunately, six of those nine belonged to Wake Forest. The Deacons avoided a sweep, snapped a seven-game slide, and solidified its position in the ACC tournament by outlasting N.C. State 8-5.
Wake (27-24, 13-14) scored six times with the benefit of just two hits as the Pack (29-21, 11-16) imploded in the 10th. It all started when Eric Peterson walked leadoff man Nate Mondou to open the frame. A single and a sacrifice bunt later, Elliott Avent elected to load the bases with an intentional walk. The strategy looked like it would pay off when Peterson got up 0-2 on Grant Shambley, but the Pack righty couldn't put him away. Shambley laced a double into the left-centerfield gap to plate a pair.
After another intentional walk to reload the bases, the comedy of sadness reared its head in full. A run was walked in. Pitcher change; enter Cody Beckman. Another run was wild pitched in. A couple more came home on Beckman's error. Not his best night.
We got to this point thanks to the Pack knotting it up in the ninth. Logan Ratledge worked a leadoff walk (damn if those don't always seem to score), stole second, and eventually scored on Jake Fincher's two-out single to centerfield. (Fincher had the indignity of being thrown out at first on a one hop line drive to right field earlier in the game, so it was nice to see him redeemed.)
Preston Palmeiro, whose dad Rafael was in attendance, flew harmlessly to Shambley in left to end the threat.
Trea Turner played evil hope maker in the bottom of the 10th with a three-run bomb that cut Wake's lead in half, but Wake snuffed out the rally before the tying run could come to the plate. Turner also had a double and scored twice. Fincher and Andrew Knizner were the other Pack players with a pair of hits.
The loss spoiled a solid start from Patrick Peterson (who, as you may have heard, is Eric's twin brother). The lefty version of the Petersons allowed just three hits, one walk, and two earned runs over six innings. He fanned four en route to lowering his season ERA to 3.28.
The last week of the ACC season is a confused mess. Suffice it to say a sweep over Wake would have made the picture much clearer. Georgia Tech is in the clubhouse at 14-16, so a State sweep in its last series at Virginia Tech would push the Pack past the Jackets based on their head-to-head series win. A sweep plus at least one Pittsburgh loss against Notre Dame would also work. A sweep plus Wake managing only one win against Virginia would also work. A sweep plus North Carolina getting swept at Miami would help. I don't think Boston College has a sweep over Clemson in it, so I'm not even going to dream on that one.
Bottom line: it's hard to imagine a team that has played the way the Pack have played this year, especially on the road (7-10), winning all three in Blacksburg. We're probably going to need some help from somewhere.