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Wake Forest is aiming for .500 in ACC play with an eye on NCAA

Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter takes an early look at the postseason and has a clear vision of what it will take to match the excitement of the College World Series in 2023.

After defeating Coastal Carolina, the Demon Deacons (22-10) will be on the road for two of their next three Atlantic Coast Conference weekend series, starting with a trip to Boston College beginning Friday. Wake is coming off a series win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last weekend.

With a conference record of 6-7, every ACC series takes on added significance, and Walter understands that an impressive conference mark could convince the NCAA selection committee to book his team as postseason hosts. The Demon Deacons stayed at David F. Couch Ballpark during last postseason to secure their spot in Omaha.

“This gets us closer to .500, which is the No. 1 goal, to get back to .500 in the league and from there build a resume where we can consider hosting,” Walter said, after defeating the Hokies. “This weekend was obviously a big step in that direction against a really good team.”

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Following the Boston College trip, Wake Forest will host Florida State April 19-21. The Demon Deacons return to the road to face Notre Dame on April 26th and 28th.

Clemson will visit Winston-Salem for the final home conference series of the regular season May 10-12. The final ACC series takes Wake Forest to NC State May 16-18. Then comes the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, which begins May 21st.

If ever there was a time for Wake Forest bats to wake up, this is the time.

The Demon Deacons erupted Tuesday night, defeating No. 20 Coastal Carolina 12-3 at David F. Couch Ballpark. Six batters had home runs and Nick Kurtz and Jack Winnay had multiple home runs in the win.

After the Chanticleers scored a run to start the first inning, Wake Forest scored five runs in the bottom of the inning. Kurtz put the Deacs ahead with a two-run shot to right field. Three pitches later, Winnay hit a home run to left, giving him 12 points for the season and tying him with Kurtz for the team lead. After a four-pitch walk to Jake Reinisch, Seaver King hit a 1-0 pitch to right center to extend the lead to four.

Wake Forest added three more in the second period. Kurtz hit a two-run home run off the scoreboard in right-center field, his sixth in seven at-bats. Winnay added his second home run of the game in the fifth inning, and Reinisch followed with a home run, his eighth of the year. The Deacons added two more runs in the eighth.

Graduate transfer David Falco entered the game with a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the seventh, but escaped the jam with a strikeout and a line drive out.

Kurtz has been on a roll lately, including in last weekend's series at Virginia Tech.

In the final on Sunday Kurtz hit three home runs for eight in his last five games before the Coastal Carolina blowout. Wake Forest won 10-4.

With the three home runs, Kurtz ranked fourth for career home runs Wake up Forest History at 50 Kurtz became the first Demon Deacon to hit three home runs in a game since Brock Wilken did it against Alabama in the Winston-Salem Super Regional last season.

Sunday marked the first time in his college career that he hit three home runs in a single game, as he previously recorded two home runs in seven different games.

After an 8-for-14 week with six home runs, a double, 11 RBI and nine runs scored, Kurtz was named the ACC Player of the Week on Monday.

Kurtz joins teammate Chase Burns as ACC Award winners this season, with Burns taking home ACC Pitcher of the Week honors three consecutive times.

There are five teams with double-digit losses in this week's Division I college baseball poll. Wake Forest is among them at No. 14, while Coastal Carolina, which fell to the Demon Deacons, is at No. 20.

This week's top five are Arkansas, Clemson, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Oregon State. Duke is the highest-ranked ACC team and No. 7. Florida State is at No. 10 and Virginia is at No. 11, followed by North Carolina at No. 13 and Virginia Tech at No. 16. NC State dropped out of the poll after falling last week was in 19th place. East Carolina is ninth.

The USA TODAY Coaches Poll has Wake Forest ranked 15th. Baseball America returns Wake Forest to No. 18 in its poll this week National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Polls have Wake Forest ranked 15th.