DURHAM — Bobby Seymour thought the pitch that he turned on to lead off the eighth inning Saturday against Duke was going to hook foul.
It didn’t, with Seymour’s blast delivering the go-ahead run in Wake Forest’s 9-8 victory against host Duke at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
And now, maybe things are straightening out for the Deacons (14-10, 4-4 ACC), who return Sunday to try to win an ACC road series in the rubber game.
“Obviously (Friday), we all know wasn’t our best game,” Seymour said of Wake Forest’s 16-2 loss in the series opener. “… I think that’s a lot of our problem, sometimes, is we get down early and everyone wants to fold.
“But we came out today, we really wanted to prove to ourselves and to the whole ACC, just come out here and play hard and I think we did a good job of that.”
The Deacons’ bats that went relatively quiet Friday — scoring two runs after putting up a combined 49 in the previous three games — woke back up Saturday, with 18 hits and runs in every inning except the second and ninth.
Patrick Frick’s four-hit day led the way, while Chris Lanzilli and Seymour had three hits apiece — that trio combining to go 10-for-15 as the two-three-four punch in the lineup. Seymour drove in four runs, Frick drove in two and Frick and Lanzilli both scored twice.
Every position player in the Deacons’ lineup had a hit other than catcher Logan Harvey — who arguably made the defensive play of the game when he threw out Duke’s RJ Schreck at third base to end the bottom of the eighth.
After a replay review that only brought on some nervousness, Harvey said, the call stood.
“Will (Fleming) threw the pitch exactly where it needed to be, dropped down and got a solid block on it,” Harvey said. “I immediately found the ball and fired to third, luckily Bruce (Steel) was there to make the tag.
“A little worried about the review, just because you never know how those are going to go. But obviously truth came out, we got the out and I think it was a big momentum shift.”
Fleming pitched the eighth and ninth for his second save of the season. He relieved Antonio Menendez (2-1), who pitched 2⅓ scoreless innings to earn the win.
“Tony Menendez and Will Fleming came in and threw the ball, really settled this thing down and just made pitches,” Coach Tom Walter said. “Made a couple of defensive plays, Logan made a huge play in the eighth throwing that guy out.”
The way this game had been going, it was almost a quieter ending than the trend indicated. Duke (13-10, 3-5) held leads of 4-1 after the first inning, 6-4 after the fourth and 8-6 after the fifth.
Wake Forest scored first and didn’t have long to appreciate its lead. Seymour’s first-inning sacrifice fly was dwarfed by Duke’s four-run bottom of the first. Chris Crabtree hit a leadoff homer, and then Duke scored three runs on four straight hits — three of them going for extra bases.
By the fourth, Wake Forest had tied at 4-4, and then Duke scored two in the bottom half to regain the lead. The same thing happened in the fifth, as the middle game of this series saw momentum see-saw on a half-inning basis.
Ultimately, Wake Forest scoring a single run in the sixth, seventh and eighth completed the comeback — or, final comeback.
“These games are hard to win on the road, especially in our league against the arms we see. It’s not easy to do what we did and play from behind like we did,” Walter said. “But if we’re going to be the team we want to be, these are games you have to find a way — the Florida States and Clemsons and Louisvilles find a way to win these games and we did that today.”