NCAA Baseball News

Deacon Sports Xtra: 2023 Wake Forest Baseball Positional Outlook

Deacon Sports Xtra: 2023 Wake Forest Baseball Positional Outlook

Improvement in the field and at the plate in 2022 helped Wake Forest Baseball secure an NCAA Regional berth and led to a 21-win increase against the previous season. 

The Deacs are primed for another big jump in 2023, returning the bulk of the starting lineup while adding some key players in the transfer portal. Wake Forest is likely to begin the year ranked in the top-10 nationally as one of the teams with an excellent shot of extending their season all the way to a run at the College World Series in Omaha. 

Key to that production this season will be the first baseman Nick Kurtz and third baseman Brock Wilken combined for 38 home runs and 133 runs batted last season, with Kurtz earning Third Team All-ACC honors as well as Freshman All-America and ACC All-Freshman recognition. 

“The big question will be where do you hit them in the order to protect them?,” Wake Forest coach Tom Walter said. “My gut tells me that Kurtz should hit three and Brock should hit four. But then who do you hit five to protect Brock? And maybe should you hit Brock two and Kurz three? Those are all things that I think we’re going to have to look at early in the year and figure out. 

“Kurtz and Brock are as good of hitters as we’ve ever had here. We’ve got great people to get on base in front of them with Tommy Hawke and Pierce Bennett. And the question is between (Adam) Cecere, (Jake) Reinisch, (Pierce) Bennett, (Bennett) Lee and Justin Johnson — what order we put them in to best protect those guys. The good news is we have the pieces to do it, and it’s just a matter of figuring out what’s best kind of hitters brew is and where we put all the ingredients.”

One of the most important challenges in the offseason for Walter was finding a capable catcher to replace the departing Brendan Tinsman, who hit .355 with 24 homers a season ago for the Demon Deacons.  

“We brought in a transfer portal catcher from Tulane in Bennett Lee and he’s really done a nice job this fall,” Walter said. “He has great leadership skills and a really good kind of demeanor. He communicates well with the pitchers and the coaches, and has kind of stepped in and instantly earned the respect of everybody in our program.”

Although his leadership will be vital, it won’t just be Lee behind the plate this season for Wake Forest.  

“He is really emerging as one of our go-to guys and that’s not…

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