#39 Wake Forest Baseball 2017 Preview

Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #9 ACC
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Wake Forest returns a lot of talent from a team that reached the NCAA Tournament. The Demon Deacons were exposed in the tournament though, allowing 22 runs to Texas A&M in the regionals. Unfortunately for Wake Forest, the pitching was a problem all year long. The team allowed 5.24 runs per game and also ranked 13th in the ACC in hits allowed per nine innings. The good news is that the top four pitchers return. Starters Parker Dunshee, Drew Loepprich and Connor Johnstone had their moments last year, but need to be much more consistent if Wake Forest is going to seriously compete in the ACC or the NCAA Tournament.
2016: 35-27, 13-17
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tom Walter
Key Departed Players:
Will Craig, .379 BA, 16 HR, 66 RBI
Nate Mondou, .302 BA, 4 HR, 35 RBI
Kevin Conway, .259 BA, 8 HR, 41 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Parker Dunshee, P, 3.20 ERA, 101.1 IP, 102 SO
John McCarren, P, 3.66 ERA, 66.1 IP, 41 SO
Drew Loepprich, P, 4.85 ERA, 78.0 IP, 52 SO
Connor Johnstone, P, 5.70 ERA, 77.1 IP, 33 SO
Gavin Sheets, IF, .326 BA, 9 HR, 45 RBI
Stuart Fairchild, OF, .293 BA, 5 HR, 47 RBI
The Demon Deacons won games last year with their offense and that will likely be the case again in 2017. Wake Forest will certainly miss Will Craig though, who hit .379 with 16 homeruns and 66 RBIs. He was the key clog in the lineup, but this team has plenty of other options who are ready to step up. Gavin Sheets batted .326 with nine homers and 45 RBIs and Stuart Fairchild added five homeruns and 47 RBIs. Those two will lead what should be a very dangerous lineup. It may not be quite as potent compared to last year, but they will be good enough to get Wake Forest back to the NCAA Tournament and make up for their issues on the mound.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament