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Wake Forest Outlasts East Carolina in Epic 16-Inning Marathon for Supers


In a gripping and unforgettable contest that tested the limits of endurance, Wake Forest emerged victorious over East Carolina in a marathon 16-inning affair to secure a spot in the Super Regionals. The game, played before a raucous crowd at Clark-LeClair Stadium, was a testament to the resilience and determination of both teams.

Wake Forest wasted no time asserting their dominance, jumping out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. East Carolina, however, showed unwavering grit, chipping away at the deficit with two runs in the bottom of the second and another in the fourth.

As the game wore on, the tension mounted and each inning brought a new layer of drama. Both teams had opportunities to break the deadlock, but clutch defense and timely pitching kept the game close.

In the eighth inning, East Carolina finally drew level with an RBI single from Connor Norby. The game remained tied until the 10th inning when Wake Forest regained the lead on a sacrifice fly from Michael Turconi. East Carolina refused to be outdone, responding with a game-tying solo home run from Alec Makarewicz in the bottom of the 11th.

With neither team able to gain an edge, the contest extended into extra innings. In the 12th inning, East Carolina loaded the bases with no outs, but Wake Forest's ace reliever Camden Minacci struck out three consecutive batters to extinguish the threat.

The 13th, 14th, and 15th innings passed without either team breaking the stalemate. As the game entered the 16th inning, both bullpens were running on fumes.

In the top of the 16th, Wake Forest's Johnny Aiello drew a walk to lead off the inning. A sac bunt and a groundout advanced Aiello to third base. With two outs and the infield drawn in, freshman phenom Pierce Bennett drove a single into left field to score Aiello and give Wake Forest a 6-5 lead.

East Carolina had one last chance to tie the game in the bottom of the 16th, but Wake Forest's defense held strong. A strikeout by Minacci ended the game and sent Wake Forest into a frenzy of celebration.

Minacci, who pitched the final 6.1 innings for Wake Forest, was credited with the win. His gutsy performance proved to be the difference, as he allowed just one run on two hits and struck out nine batters.

For East Carolina, the loss marked the end of a successful season. The Pirates fought valiantly throughout the game, but ultimately fell short against a determined Wake Forest team.

Wake Forest, who now advances to the Super Regionals, will face either Virginia or Dallas Baptist next weekend. The Demon Deacons will look to continue their Cinderella run and earn a berth in the College World Series.

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