Wake Forest Baseball Drops Another Nailbiter To Clemson, 6-5
May 15, 2005
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest rallied from an early 6-1 deficit, drawing within a single run, but Clemson reliever Drew Riorenza picked up his first save of the season in a 6-5 victory over the Demon Deacons on Senior Day at Hooks Stadium Sunday afternoon. With the victory, Clemson secures a sweep and improves to 33-19 overall and 18-9 in the ACC, while the Demon Deacons fall to 23-26 overall and 11-16 in the league.
Wake Forest starter Charlie Mellies was valiant in the loss. The sophomore, who drops to 2-4 on the season, tossed the first complete game of his career. The right-hander struggled early as the Tigers wrapped out eight hits and six runs over the first three innings to race out to a 6-1 lead, but Mellies settled down and scattered six hits the rest of the way.
"They were hitting everything I threw up there the first three innings," said Mellies. "We started off speed a lot early. I got the first two guys out with change-up and sort of fell in love with that pitch a little too much. They were looking in and off speed all day, so we decided to stay hard away, hard away until they started hitting it."
Mellies retired 10 straight Tigers at one point and sent down the first two batters of every inning from the fourth inning on. He allowed 14 hits and six earned runs on the day, but also struckout four and issued just a single walk in a 130-pitch effort.
"It was an unbelievable performance," said Wake Forest head coach Rick Rembielak. "He really showed his character and what he is all about. He battled back after really struggling the first three innings. I wish we could have 10 Charlie Mellies'."
Fiorenza tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief without issuing a walk. The right-handed hurler entered the game with the tying run on first base and two outs. Fiorenza would strikeout Brendan Enick to end the seventh, then retired the next four Demon Deacons in order before Matt Antonelli reached with a one-out single in the ninth inning. Ben Ingold stepped to the plate as the winning run. Fiorenza was able to force Ingold into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. It was the third double play that Clemson turned on the afternoon.
The Demon Deacons had the gamewinning run just 90-feet away Saturday in the ninth inning and had the gamewinning run at the plate with on out Sunday.
Fiorenza, who was penciled in as the Tigers closer to open the season, has struggled somewhat in the role -- carrying a 6.23 ERA into Sunday's game. His control was much of his downfall, walking 13 batters in 17.1 innings, but the junior was sharp Sunday afternoon.
After Sunday's scheduled starter Josh Cribb was forced into action Saturday, Robert Rohrbaugh was called upon and the southpaw was pretty effective. The junior went 6.2 innings and allowed five earned runs on 10 hits. He struckout six and walked three. Rohrbaugh, who improved to 6-2 on the season, worked his way out of a couple jams.
The Demon Deacons had two runners on and one run already in with no outs in the first inning when Ryder Mathias lined into a double play. The Tigers helped out Rohrbaugh with another double play in the Wake Forest third inning.
"He made some big pitches," said Rembielak. "He also got a couple key double plays. That first inning double play on Ryder's line drive kind of killed a rally early. Then, they turned another one in the middle of the game that really settled him down. We had enough opportunities, but he was able to find ways to work out of jams."
The biggest jam was in the bottom of the fifth inning. After the Deacs had closed the Tigers lead to 6-4 on Matt Miller's three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning, Wake Forest loaded the bases with two outs, but Rohrbaugh was able to get Enick out on a foul out to first base to end the threat.
Wake Forest narrowed the Clemson lead to 6-5 with a solo home run from J.B. Tucker. The blast is Tucker's 12th of the season and 17th of his career, but Fiorenza would come in and close the door as the Tigers picked up the program's 2,300 victory all-time.
Tyler Colvin led the Tigers offensively going 3-for-5 with a run scored and four RBI. Taylor Harbin went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, while Travis Storrer and Adrian Casanova each went 2-for-4. Storrer extended his hitting streak to 16 games.
Antonelli went 3-for-5 with a solo home run to lead off the first inning. Tucker went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Mathias, Enick, Miller, Casey Sterk and Brett Linnenkohl each added hits. Miller's three-run home run was his sixth of the season.
Clemson turns its attention to College of Charleston on Tuesday, before closing the regular season with a huge ACC series against Miami next weekend. Wake Forest, now in eighth place in the ACC after Virginia's 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes, will face High Point Tuesday before traveling to Virginia Tech to close the regular season.
-- WakeForestSports.com --