WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — No. 15 Wake Forest set a new season home run record, but fell in the ninth inning to Pittsburgh, 5-4, at David F. Couch Ballpark on Friday night.
The Demon Deacons (37-17, 18-11 ACC) received a pair of home runs from Johnny Aiello and Gavin Sheets to break the season record with 91 longballs, surpassing the previous mark of 90 set in 1999.
Wake Forest led, 4-3, heading to the ninth inning. The Panthers (23-29, 9-20 ACC) started the inning with a hit by pitch and seeing-eye single. An error on a pickoff attempt moved both runners in scoring position.
Then, a groundout tied the game and a throwing error on a chopper put Pittsburgh in front. Griffin Roberts (1-3) took the loss after allowing two unearned runs despite striking out three, allowing one hit in 2.0 innings.
Donnie Sellers started and rebounded after allowing a two-run homer to Caleb Perry in the first. He went 7.0 innings, striking out a career-high seven batters and allowed three runs on five hits and a walk.
The Deacs battled back from that 2-0 deficit with an Aiello homer to right field in the second inning and a Sheets homer off the video board in the fourth.
Later in the fourth inning, Ben Breazeale scored on a balk and Aiello scored on a sacrifice fly to put the Deacs up, 4-2.
Pitt manufactured a run in the sixth to cut it to 4-3. Jacob Wright singled, advanced on a wild pitch and a groundout and scored on Parry’s third RBI of the night.
After the Deacs got to Panther starter Josh Falk for four runs in 3.1 innings, the bullpen held Wake Forest scoreless for the final 5.2 innings. Isaac Mattson allowed one hit in 3.1 frames, Thursday starter Josh Mitchell tossed 1.0 scoreless and Sam Mersing threw the final 1.1 innings to earn the win.
The rubber game is set for Saturday at noon. Wake Forest will honor its nine seniors in a ceremony beginning at 11:40 a.m.