WINSTON-SALEM — A career pitching performance from Seth Keener helped No. 1 Wake Forest win its opening game of the NCAA Regionals.
Keener, a 2020 graduate of East Surry High School and current Wake Forest junior, struck out a career-high 13 batters in the June 2 game against George Mason.
Wake won the game 12-0 in front of a sell-out, record-breaking crowd at David F. Couch Ballpark. The Demon Deacons now lead the nation in shutouts with 10.
“Seth Keener was clearly the story tonight,” said Wake Forest coach Tom Walter. “You can’t throw a whole lot better than that. I was really proud of his performance: thirteen strikeouts, no walks, and made big pitch after big pitch. He probably had eight or nine full counts that he won over the course of the game.
“When you are facing a team like George Mason, who runs a lot and bunts a lot, the best way to control that is to keep people off base. I’m really proud of Seth.”
After striking out the side in the second and setting down eight of the first eleven batters he faced on strikes, Keener finished the contest with thirteen punchouts. The junior allowed just one runner to reach third as only three George Mason players reached base.
The 13-strikeout mark surpassed Keener’s previous career high (8) which he elapsed in the fourth inning, and is the most hitters any Demon Deacon pitcher has struck out in a single appearance this season.
Keener surrendered just three baserunners during Friday’s outing, and only one runner reached third base in his seven innings.
This was the ninth time this season that a Wake Forest pitcher has struck out 10 or more batters in a game: sophomore Sean Sullivan accomplished the feat four times, junior Rhett Lowder and sophomore Josh Hartle each did so twice, and now Keener has once.
Cole Roland appeared in relief in the win, tossing a scoreless eighth inning before handing the pitching duties over to Derek Crum. Crum recorded the final three outs of the contest in order.
The Deacs came into the game leading the nation in strikeouts as a staff with 659 – 23 more than the next closest team in the nation.
After setting program records for regular season wins (45), conference wins (22) and conference series wins (10), the regional victory helped Wake Forest break the program record for total wins with its 48th victory of the 2023 season. The win over George Mason put Wake at 48-10 overall.