Wake Forest Falls 6-0 to UNC in ACC Opener
May 23, 2012
By Brittany Adams, WakeForestSports.com
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Wake Forest starter Tim Cooney recorded 10 strikeouts over 7.2 innings, but it was not enough as the Demon Deacons fell 6-0 to North Carolina on Wednesday evening at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro on the opening night of the ACC Baseball Championship.
The second-seeded Tar Heels used a four-run third inning to take an early lead and then added one run in both the fourth and eighth innings to close out the win.
Cooney took the loss for the seventh-seeded Deacons (32-23) to fall to 6-7 on the season, while Tate Parrish earned the win as the Tar Heels improved to 43-13 overall. In addition to his 10 strikeouts, Cooney also allowed all six runs, five of them earned, on nine hits.
Cooney struck out two Tar Heels to end the first and then followed it up with strikeouts of All-ACC selection Jacob Stallings and Cody Stubbs to start the second inning for a total of four consecutive strikeouts.
After a scoreless second inning by both teams, Blair began the third inning with a leadoff walk for the Deacs and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Conor Keniry. Williamson then singled to center but the throw to the plate by centerfielder Chaz Frank was directly on target, catching Blair out at home for the second out of the inning.
UNC managed four runs in the third to take the lead. With runners on the corners, Wake Forest first baseman Lopez had tried to throw home on a ground ball to catch Brian Holberton coming from third base, but Holberton was able to turn and make it back to third safely with the fielder's choice loading the bases. Holberton then scored on another fielder's choice, and back-to-back hits by Stallings and Stubbs plated three more runs for the Tar Heels, giving them a 4-0 lead.
Cooney recorded three more strikeouts in the fourth, but the Tar Heels added another run to their total on a two-out RBI single from Frank to extend the lead to 5-0.
The Deacs had an opportunity to score in the sixth when Lopez drew a leadoff walk. Two batters later, Rhine drew his second walk of the game to put runners on first and second with one out, but the Deacs were unable to get any runs on the board in the inning.
North Carolina added one more run in the eighth inning on a Wake Forest error for their sixth and final run of the evening. Niko Spezial entered the game in relief for the Deacs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, striking out pinch hitter Matt Roberts to end the inning.
Wake Forest would threaten in the ninth after Rhine led off the inning with a single to left field, and Grant Shambley then reached first base on a fielder's choice that saw Rhine out at second. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Jack Carey drew a walk before Blair was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs before new Carolina pitcher Chris O'Brien struck out Conor Keniry to end the game.
Wake Forest will play in its second game of the ACC Baseball Championship tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. against NC State. Sophomore righty Jack Fischer (4-4, 2.77 ERA) is scheduled to make the start for the Demon Deacons against the Wolfpack.