Cooney Pitches a Gem but Radford Rallies Late to Beat Wake Forest 5-4
March 6, 2011
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Sophomore starting pitcher Tim Cooney struck out a career-high 14 batters in six innings of action, but Radford scored three runs in the top of the ninth to defeat Wake Forest 5-4 Sunday evening at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park.
The Demon Deacons are now 4-7, while Radford improves to 6-4.
Cooney was the story of the game through the first six innings. His 14 strikeouts doubled his previous career-high of seven against Kent State on February 27 of last season. He scattered six hits, walked a batter and allowed no earned runs, striking out the side in both the third and fifth innings.
Junior Carlos Lopez had his best offensive performance of the season, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and two runs batted in.
The Demon Deacons held a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the ninth before Radford rallied for three runs and a 5-4 advantage. Freshman Chris Willson, who had been a perfect 2-for-2 in save opportunities coming into the game, gave up the three runs and took the loss for Wake Forest to fall to 0-1.
Radford led off the inning with a single to left field by Brett Mollenhauer. After Willson struck out leadoff man Matt Hillsinger, Mollenhauer advanced to second on a wild pitch and Zach Costello drew a walk.
Jeff Kemp was next up and singled through the right side to load the bases for cleanup hitter Matt Mack. The Highlander first baseman drew a walk to make the score 4-3. Freshman John McLeod relieved Willson at that point and immediately got a ground ball to first base from Alex Guerra. Sophomore Matt Conway fielded the ball and tried to get the double play, but the return thrown from freshman Jack Fischer was not in time and allowed the tying run to score.
With runners now on the corners, McLeod delivered a wild pitch in the dirt that went to the backstop, allowing Kemp to score from third and Radford to take the 5-4 lead.
The Deacs had a chance in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with no outs, but Jason Patten got back-to-back strikeouts and a fly ball to center to end the game and earn the victory.
Wake Forest got on the board first in the bottom of the third. Freshman Conor Keniry led off the inning with a seven-pitch walk, and two batters later, fellow freshman Zane Yanzick doubled to put runners on second and third. Sophomore Brett Armour then reached on a fielder's choice to the shortstop that brought Keniry home.
An inning later, the Deacons struck again with three runs to make the score 4-0. Conway began the inning with a leadoff double to left and sophomore Mac Williamson singled up the middle to drive him home. After Harris struck out, Lopez hit a high fly ball to right field that got caught in the wind and cleared the fence for his first home run of the season.
Cooney appeared to be on his way to an easy sixth inning of work when he retired the first two batters on a strikeout and a ground ball. The third batter of the inning lofted a high pop up to left that appeared to be the final out, but Williamson dropped the ball to prolong the inning.
DH Jake Taylor then doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third. One batter later, Daniel Wright hit another high pop fly to right field where Yanzick dropped the ball, allowing both runners on base to score, unearned.
The Deacs had their chances in the ninth, as Harris led off the inning with a single and was pinch ran for by freshman Evan Stephens. Lopez then crushed a ball to left field that died in the wind and hit the wall, resulting in a double and two runners in scoring position. Radford then intentionally walked Keniry to load the bases for the force out before Patten retired three straight Deacons and end the game.
Wake Forest will face another Big South foe on Wednesday when Coastal Carolina visits Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park. First pitch is schedule for 4 p.m.