NCAA Baseball News

Deacon Sports Xtra: Five Questions with Head Coach Tom Walter

Deacon Sports Xtra: Five Questions with Head Coach Tom Walter

Wake Forest Baseball had a remarkable turnaround in 2022, winning 21 games more than the year before and earning an NCAA Tournament berth while improving on the mound, at the plate and in the field. 

The Deacs return a formidable club for 2023 and seem poised to begin the season high in the national rankings, with an eye toward hosting a regional and making a run toward Omaha. Wake Forest coach Tom Walter recently chatted with Deacon Sports Xtra for this Five Questions feature. 

What were some of the goals with the non-conference schedule this year? 

Walter: “We want to face a good mix of teams that are going to play well in their conference — teams like Illinois and Ball State that are going to have solid RPIs and be competitive. Binghamton is another one of those teams. Those teams are going to be right there with a chance to win their league. 

“I think college coaches underestimate their midweek schedule and how that can help your RPI. When you look at our midweek schedule. I mean, we don’t play anybody who’s not pretty good. We play Coastal Carolina twice, UNC Wilmington twice, we play Elon twice, we play UNC Greensboro twice, we play High Point twice and we play Liberty twice — all those teams and we play them home and away. I think a lot of ACC and SEC teams, they play a heavy home schedule, and they don’t travel for those midweek games. And I think those are missed opportunities. It’s a missed RPI opportunity. But it’s also a missed opportunity to battle-test your team. This is the exact formula we had last year, and we were able to build the No. 6 RPI. So I feel like it’s a formula that works. It’s a schedule where you’re playing a good mix of teams that are going to be in that 50-125 RPI range and hopefully you play well. And if you win the lion’s share of those games, you’re going to have a good RPI.”

Will any freshmen be counted on for your team in 2023?  

Walter: “I don’t think we have any freshmen that will be ready positionally, and there’s no space for them. Even if they were ready, how do you beat out Brock Wilken, Nick Kurtz, Bennett Lee, Tommy Hawke, Pierce Bennett, Adam Cecere or Jake Reinisch? There’s not a ton of space for freshman position players. So I think our better freshman position players are definitely a year away, but on the mound I think we have those two freshmen lefties (Joe Ariola and Zach…

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