Demon Deacons Earn Gritty, 12-Inning Win Over No. 5 UNC, 7-6
Jack Fischer earned his first-career save by pitching a scoreless 12th inning at North Carolina.
Jack Fischer earned his first-career save by pitching a scoreless 12th inning at North Carolina.

March 30, 2012

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - No. 5 North Carolina scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game at 6-6, but Wake Forest made it up for it with a 12th-inning sacrifice fly by Mark Rhine that scored Carlos Lopez to secure a 7-6 win over the Tar Heels on Friday night at Boshamer Stadium.

With the win, the Demon Deacons improved to 19-9 overall (5-5 ACC) and won their third straight game overall, sending the nationally-ranked Tar Heels to 20-6 and 7-3 in conference play.

In a battle of lefties, junior Tim Cooney outlasted UNC's Kent Emanuel, firing 7.2 innings of three-run ball and striking out three. Neither would factor in the game's decision, however, as Michael Dimock came on in the eighth inning and pitched 3.1 innings for the win (1-2), while Jack Fischer pitched the game-sealing 12th inning for his first career save.

Rhine finished the night 2-for-4 at the plate and scored two runs, while Pat Blair (2-for-5) and Conor Keniry (2-for-6) also put up multi-hit performances and knocked in a run apiece.

Grant Shambley and Brett Armour also finished the night with a pair of hits each, while Charlie Morgan launched his third home run of the season as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning.

After the Deacon offense went down in order in the top of the first, Cooney encountered some early trouble as UNC loaded the bases with one out. The junior lefty responded, however, getting Cody Stubbs to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

Cooney continued to pitch effectively into the fourth when the Tar Heels nabbed their first run on a sacrifice fly by Michael Russell to take a 1-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Emanuel mowed down batters, as the UNC lefty retired the first nine he faced until a fourth inning leadoff single by Blair.

In total, the UNC preseason All-American lefty recorded outs on 14 of the first 15 batters he faced until Rhine began a Wake Forest rally with a two-out double in the top of the fifth. Armour followed up with an infield single to give the Deacs their first scoring opportunity of the game - with runners on the corners - and Shambley was able to push a ball into the gap between first and second base to tie the game at 1-1.

The Deacs threatened again in the sixth after Keniry doubled with one out and Carlos Lopez was hit by a pitch, but Emanuel was able to get out of the jam with one of his career-best nine strikeouts.

Rhine walked and Armour singled to begin the seventh and kick-start another rally for Wake Forest. Shambley flied out and Emanuel was replaced on the mound before two consecutive fielder's choices resulted in a Rhine run and a bases loaded situation for Mac Williamson. The center fielder responded with a grounder to UNC's shortstop Tommy Coyle, who fired wide of first base. The miscue allowed both Evan Stephens and Blair to cross the plate.

Batting next, Carlos Lopez sent a towering fly ball all the way to the warning track at the 400-foot center field wall but it was tracked down by Chaz Frank to end the inning.

After the long fly ball out to close the seventh, Morgan pinch hit to begin the eighth and sent a 2-1 pitch soaring into the trees in right center field for his third home run of the season. The Deacs would finish the inning up 6-1 after a sacrifice fly by Blair plated Rhine.

Cooney allowed a sacrifice fly in the eighth to Zolk and would finally exit the game in the eighth before North Carolina was able to score five and tie the game at 6-6.

Both sides were quiet in extra innings until the Deacs broke through for a run on the sacrifice fly by Rhine to reclaim the lead, 7-6. Lopez began the inning with a double off the center field wall and advanced to third on a ground out to the right side of the infield by Morgan, setting up Rhine's game winning RBI.

Game 2 between Wake Forest and North Carolina will take place tomorrow, as first pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.

 

 

 

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