ACC Baseball Tournament 2012: Wake Forest Must Bounce Back to Avoid NCAA Snub

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMay 24, 2012

Photo Courtesy of Astroturf.com
Photo Courtesy of Astroturf.com

The 2012 ACC Baseball tournament got under way Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C., and one of the teams that most needed a solid showing in the tournament to bolster its NCAA resume is now reeling from a past that they must recover from quickly.

The seventh-seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons (32-23, 13-17 ACC) were shellacked by second-seeded North Carolina 6-0 on Wednesday evening. Wake Forest is one of the teams considered by some to be on the bubble for the NCAA tournament, with ESPN's Jeremy Mills stating that "Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are on the right side of the bubble [now], but either could fall off with an 0-3 week."

After Wednesday's shutout loss, the Demon Deacons need to rebound in the next two games of the round-robin format or they may find themselves on the outside looking in when the field of 64 is announced for the run for Omaha.

Unfortunately for Wake Forest, that task won't get any easier Thursday evening, as the team faces a North Carolina State squad that is battling for a national seed and the right to host both a regional and super regional in the NCAA tournament.

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The Wolfpack defeated Wake Forest in all three of their meetings this season, outscoring the Demon Deacons 20-11 during the three-game set in Raleigh. Taking into consideration that NC State was second in the ACC in runs scored per game and fourth in team ERA (as opposed to sixth and eighth for Wake Forest, respectively) the chips would seem to be stacked heavily in the Wolfpack's favor.

Not only that, but the Demon Deacons must contend Thursday with freshman pitcher Carlos Rodon, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. The 6'3", 234-pound left-hander was nearly unhittable this year while posting a 9-0 record, registering a 1.59 ERA, striking out 114 hitters in 96 innings, and allowing opposing batters to bat a paltry .184 against him.

With Rodon on the mound, the unfortunate likelihood is that the Demon Deacons will fall to 0-2 in the ACC tournament heading into a matchup with the sixth-seeded Miami Hurricanes on Friday.

Wake Forest dropped two of three to Miami earlier this month, and at this point if the Demon Deacons can't either down the Hurricanes or beat an undefeated southpaw in Rodon, their NCAA tournament dreams may be in serious jeopardy.

Unfortunately for Wake Forest and their fans, neither of those achievements seem all that likely at this point.