Wake Forest celebrates after winning the Winston-Salem Regional (Aaron Fitt)


Fairchild Powers Deacs To Supers


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — On Saturday night, West Virginia coach Randy Mazey was determined not to let Stuart Fairchild beat his Mountaineers, so he chose to intentionally walk the Wake Forest star center fielder with a base open in the ninth and take his chances with Gavin Sheets. Mazey picked his poison, and Sheets made him pay, delivering a walk-off single off the right-field wall.

On Sunday, Mazey didn’t have the option to pick his poison. Fairchild came to the plate with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, and there was no place to put him. And Fairchild showed exactly why the Mountaineers had wanted to avoid him the night before, launching a grand slam over the left-field wall to break open a one-run game. Fairchild added another homer in the fifth — a two-run opposite-field shot down the right-field line — to give Wake Forest all the breathing room it would need. The Mountaineers never stopped battling, but Fairchild and the Demon Deacon offense proved too potent for them to overcome, as Wake Forest bashed its way to a 12-8 victory that sent it to super regionals for the first time since 1999.

“They won’t let us put our outfielders outside the fence, but if they’d let us do that, that’s where we’d play that guy,” Mazey said of Fairchild on Sunday. “That guy in this park is ridiculously scary. We’re gonna watch that kid play in the big leagues as long as he stays healthy. I don’t know his personality, but he looks like a calm, cool, collected, great worker. He plays the game the right way, and his skills are unbelievable. That guy’s hard to get out.”

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