Written by: Joesph Ellsworth
Wake Forest FUNGO put up a productive week despite a few rainouts, going 2-1 following back-to-back weekend victories.
June 19 (1-5 @ Moorehead City Marlins)
FUNGO struggled in their match against the Marlins, who took a 5-1 victory over Wake Forest.
FUNGO was only able to put up three hits while allowing six. This defeat brought FUNGO's losing streak to three.
June 24 (17-7 vs. Fuquay-Varina Twins)
After three rained-out games, FUNGO returned home to take on the Twins on Saturday, who they were also supposed to play on Friday.
After keeping the Twins scoreless in the opening frame, FUNGO was the first on the board with a run in the bottom of the first. Following a double by Evan Harding, Anthony Mitta earned the RBI will a single on the next at-bat.
The Twins fired back in the top of the second with three runs to take a 3-1 lead. Jack Boyles narrowed the deficit with a one-run RBI to send Nick Badgett home.
After a second runless frame for the Twins, FUNGO capitalized on their chance to tie with an RBI single by Jackson Rutecki to bring Harding home and made the score 3-3.
The Twins scored again in the top of the fourth, but FUNGO began to gain momentum in the next frame. A double by Boyles deep down the left field line and a hit-by-pitch by Jayson Arendt set Harding up for another big play. Harding hit a three-run homer over the left-center wall with two outs on the board to give FUNGO a 6-4 lead and gave Wake Forest the momentum.
The fifth inning showcased high-level play on both sides of the ball by Wake Forest. FUNGO had two highlight plays on the defensive end to keep the Twins from earning a run. An impressive catch by Nick Badgett on a deep ball to right field led to a double play for FUNGO. Harding, who was putting on an imposing performance at the plate, threw a perfect throw to home from center field, which kept the runner at third from scoring.
On the batting end in the fifth for FUNGO, they delivered six runs in their highest-scoring inning since June 3 when they had six runs in the fourth amid their 12-2 victory over the Carolina Ducks.
An RBI single by Hogan Stallings got the scoring started in the inning, sending Rutecki home. With bases loaded, Boyles was walked to score a runner, followed by a stolen run from Badgett on a passed ball. Elijah Jordan came up big for FUNGO a few at-bats later, earning a single to send two runners home.
In the sixth, the Twins put up three runs to narrow the FUNGO lead to five, but a solo homer from Stallings extended the lead back to six.
Aidan Brown came in to pitch to start the seventh inning and produced a strong performance, throwing three strikeouts. The FUNGO batters delivered as well in the following frame.
On loaded bases, Rutecki took a walk to score a runner, and a sacrifice fly from Stallings on the next at-bat put FUNGO two runs away from victory. Badgett approached the plate and handed the Twins a loss with a two-RBI for a run-rule win.
Harding, who was a triple short of a cycle, earned the Player of the Game. The uncommitted Harding went 3-4 at the plate, earning three RBIs, a walk, four runs and a stolen base.
June 25 (10-4 vs. High Point Locos)
The day following the win over the Twins, FUNGO hosted the Locos. The two teams would have played three days prior, but the matchup was rained out.
The Locos found ground quickly with a two-run homer on their fourth at bat. FUNGO responded fast, putting up three runs in both the second and third innings.
Dawson Smith threw two strikeouts in the top of the second, which, paired with a two-RBI single by Lawson Wheeler and a sacrifice fly by Jason Jelic, gave FUNGO an early lead.
After another scoreless inning for the Locos in the third, Wake Forest put up another three runs to extend their lead. A double to the wall in center field by Alex Imposimato sent Mitta home to start scoring in the inning.
Following the at-bat by Imposimato, Stallings drove a single between first and second to score another runner. Williams was up to bat next and gave FUNGO their fifth straight hit with an RBI single down the leftfield line.
Scoring came to a halt, with neither team finding home plate in the fourth or fifth. In the top of the fifth inning, there was a collision between Badgett and Harding that left both on the ground for a few minutes. Both players went for a deep hit, and Harding dove face-first into Badgett's knee. Both players ended up okay, and Badgett, who made the grab still, came back into the game to hit later on.
Scoring picked back up in the sixth with an RBI from the Locos, who scored off of an error, but FUNGO answered with two runs of their own.
Badgett earned a single just one inning after the collision and even stole a base a few pitches later. The two runs for Wake Forest in the inning came from Jelic, who stole home on a bad itch and a sacrifice grounder by Rutecki.
Ryder Jeske came in to pitch to start the seventh inning and struck out the side to maintain FUNGO's five-run lead.
Badgett hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded. Aidan Cooper, who replaced Harding, was next to bat and hit his first RBI of the season.
Cooper came in to pitch the final inning, and while he allowed a run, it wasn't enough for the Locos to overcome their seven-run deficit.
Dawson Smith earned the win and Player of the Game with four strikeouts through five innings pitched while allowing just two hits and zero earned runs.
"I know the boys are gonna hit, so it was just about me doing my job, and if I do my job, I'll put us in a good spot to win," said Smith, "Luckily, this has been my best performance thus far, so I look to repeat that."
With a road victory over the Oak City Gliders on Wednesday, FUNGO returns home to host the Carolina Ducks for a Thursday night matchup on June 29 at 6:30 p.m.