Ryan Johnson is a senior at Wake Forest.
Each week, the All-American outfielder will keep us posted on
the happenings at Wake Forest, a team that should challenge for the ACC title.
Johnson, who batted .366 a year ago with 13 home runs and 77 RBI, is a
tri-captain for the Demon Deacons.
April 8, 2003
FSU: The Deacons' Demons
Last week began on a very positive note. We had won four straight, Sunday’s snow
had given way to 75-degree temperatures, and we were looking forward to playing
at one of the best college baseball environments in the country: Florida State.
Unfortunately, we came out of the week with our worst result in two years.
On Wednesday we traveled to Davidson. They have a very cozy field and added
lights this year to further enhance the atmosphere there. We scored in every
inning of the game, which is one of the hardest feats to accomplish in baseball.
We were finally able to manufacture runs by coming up with numerous two-out
hits. Ben Ingold had four hits and five RBI despite being taunted constantly by
the fans because of a couple errors he made. One fan had one of the wittiest
comments of the year, screaming, "You can’t spell Ben without an E!" Needless to
say, we all reminded Ben how to spell his name the whole bus ride home.
After Wednesday’s victory, we were confident and excited to head to Tallahassee.
We lifted hard on Thursday before heading to the airport in the afternoon.
Before we left, I was scrambling around the political science department to get
into a class that I needed to graduate next fall. Every seminar that I needed
was full, and I sent out a last resort e-mail right before we left. I spent most
of my time in the airport trying to get a hold of the professor and left not
knowing if I would be part of the class of 2003 or 2004. Luckily the professor
had sympathy for me and let me in his course. Oh, the joys of school.
Friday night was a highly anticipated game. Kyle Sleeth was going for his 27th
consecutive victory, and we were trying to win our first game in 10 years at
Tallahassee. The Seminoles, on the other hand, were intent on breaking up Kyle’s
streak and preventing us from winning on their home turf.
Almost 5,000 fans showed up to watch the game, nearly all of them wearing garnet
and gold. They make it a great atmosphere to play a game in. It sounds more like
a Brazilian soccer game than a college baseball game. They are constantly
chanting and singing, on pitch nonetheless. They even make political statements
in their cheering. Before this year they had always sung the Canadian National
Anthem in the fifth inning, but since Canada has not supported the United
State’s efforts in Iraq, they have started singing the British national anthem.
Unfortunately, we gave them a lot to cheer about during the game. We ended up
losing 7-5, despite scoring three runs in the top of the ninth and getting the
winning run to the plate.
On Saturday, we looked to rebound from the defeat. We scored two runs off their
starter, Matt Lynch, in the first, but after that it looked like we were
swinging at ping-pong balls with toothpicks. Tim Morley gave us a strong
pitching effort, allowing only three runs in six innings. However, the Seminoles
kept hitting the ball hard and scored four runs off our bullpen. Unlike us, it
seemed like every time they needed a clutch hit they got it. We lost 7-2 and
went back to our hotel looking for some karma.
Sunday’s game topped off a brutal weekend for us. We lost 10-7, but once again,
the score looked closer than it was because we scored three runs in the top of
the ninth. We out-hit them 11-10, but again, couldn’t get the big hits when we
needed them most. It was only the third time that we have been swept since 1998
and all three times have been at Florida State.
Our record is now 20-10 overall and 6-5 in conference play. We have a game
Wednesday against Davidson, then a huge series against red-hot N.C. State this
weekend. It may be time to bring out the hair bleach and make a little karma for
Deacons Go 4-0-Snow (4/1/03)
Deacons Lose Bragging Rights (3/25/03)
Demon Deacons Reminded to Fear the Turtle (3/18/03)
Feeling Blue? Lasorda is the Cure (3/11/03)
Karaoke and Playing in a Big-League Dome (3/4/03)
(photo courtesy of WFU Media Relations Office)