Deacs Open ACC Slate with 10-5 Win Over Maryland
March 9, 2012
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest strung together five consecutive two-out doubles in the bottom of the fifth to cap off a seven-run inning and help the Demon Deacons defeat No. 25 Maryland 10-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Friday night at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park.
Wake Forest also extends its winning streak to 11 straight games and improves its record to 12-4 overall and 1-0 in the ACC. The last time the Demon Deacons won 11 consecutive games occurred on February 21-March 10, 2006.
The Terrapins, who also entered the contest with an identical 10-game winning streak, fall to 11-2 on the year and 0-1 in the conference.
Down 5-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, Wake Forest was able to score seven runs and take the lead for good.
Pat Blair and Conor Keniry began the rally with a pair of singles, and they moved to second and third on a ground out by Charlie Morgan. Carlos Lopez then walked to load the bases, and James Harris followed with a ground out to first that plated Blair and cut the deficit to 5-3.
Mark Rhine then began the stretch of doubles with a laser off the left field wall that barely stayed in the yard, scoring Keniry and Lopez and tying the game at 5-5.
Blair was excellent at the plate all day, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs, two runs scored and two doubles. This marks his second four-hit game of the season and the fifth of his career.
Armour also collected a pair of doubles, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one driven in, while Harris drove in a team-high three runs against the Terps.
As a team, Wake Forest ended with a season-best seven doubles.
Tim Cooney earned the win in his shortest outing of the season to improve to 3-1, going five innings and allowing five runs on nine hits. Jack Fischer entered the game in the sixth inning and kept Maryland off the board for 3.1 innings before Michael Dimock entered with one out in the ninth to close the door. Fischer struck out two batters and scattered four hits in his outing.
Maryland starter Brady Kirkpatrick took the loss for the Terrapins. Entering the game he had given up just one earned run in 20.2 innings of work, but the Deacons were able to score eight earned runs through 4.2 innings to drop Kirkpatrick's record to 1-1 on the year.
Cooney started off strong in the first, retiring the side in order, and the bats came alive immediately with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Blair took the first pitch he saw into left field for a single before Keniry and Morgan drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Two batters later, Harris sent a ball right back up the middle to put the Deacs up 2-0.
Maryland then scored five unanswered runs with three in the second, one in the third and one in the fifth before the Deacs were able to break the game open.
Wake Forest scored its 10th run in the bottom of the seventh inning when Blair doubled home Armour from second, who had doubled earlier in the inning.
The Demon Deacon defense also performed well, finishing the game without an error. With a runner on third in the fourth inning, Keniry fielded a hard shot playing in at second base and fired to Armour at home who applied the tag and kept a run off the board. Blair also had a run-saving play to end the seventh when he made a diving stop on a grounder up the middle and flipped to Keniry to end the inning.
Wake Forest and Maryland will play Game 2 of the three-game series tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park. Justin Van Grouw is set to go for the Deacs, while David Carroll will be on the mound for the Terps.