Wake Forest's Rhett Lowder celebrates after winning an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game against Alabama, Sunday, June 11, 2023, in Winston-Salem, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)

Men’s College World Series Preview: Wake Forest vs. Stanford

After an incredible season, No. 1-ranked Wake Forest baseball opens the Men’s College World Series against No. 8-ranked Stanford.

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Dominant Deacons Baseball

From start to finish, Wake Forest has had the most complete season in college baseball.

After handily beating Alabama on Sunday, the Deacons now head to Omaha with a 52-10 record, becoming the first team in program history and the nation to reach 50 wins.

Whether its surviving close games in the late innings or blowing out opponents, this team has succeeded in winning.

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As a team, Wake Forest relies on consistent hitting from their batters rather than power shots.

As a team, they only have two players with 20+ homeruns on the season. However, they have seven players who bat around .300.

Nick Kurtz, the leader of the Deacon offense, hits at .375 and slugs at an absurd .824.

Along with him, Brock Wilken’s a heavy contributor, leading the team in both home runs and RBIs.

On the mound, Wake Forest bolsters a comparable group headlined by Rhett Lowder. Lowder has been named the ACC Pitcher of the Year two years in a row, going 15-0 with a 1.92 ERA in 2023.

Outside of just Lowder, the Deacon bullpen can throw other reliable pitchers in the game such as Seth Keener and Josh Hartle.

By advancing to the College World Series, Wake Forest has made history as the first No. 1 national seed to advance to the tournament since 2018.

With elite hitting and pitching, Wake Forest has positioned itself to win games in any fashion and pose Stanford with a big challenge.

Second-Life for Stanford

In some ways, Stanford’s run to the College World Series can be described as the complete opposite to Wake Forest’s.

In both regionals, the Cardinals suffered early losses that forced them to battle in the rest of their games. To punch their ticket to Omaha for third straight year, Stanford capitalized off a huge blunder.

Though Wake Forest deservedly gets attention for the talent on its team, Stanford shouldn’t be considered a weak foe.

On the mound, the Cardinals are lead by Quinn Matthews, whose had incredible production in the NCAA tournament.

He enters Omaha with an ERA of 3.60 and 1.21 WHIP in 120 innings. Alongside Matthews, Joey Dixon is a capable N0.2 with a 4.86 ERA in 13 starts.

On the other side, Stanford possesses some dangerous batters.

Guys such as Tommy Troy, Alberto Rios and Braden Montgomery are capable of big plays, each having over 15 home runs this season.

Besides home runs, these batters have a knack on getting on base as well.

While it might be a stretch for Stanford to take out this record-breaking Wake Forest team, look for this game to be decided in the later innings.

Both these teams possess enough talent for Saturday’s game to come down to the wire.

About Sanjeev Palasseri

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