Wake Forest Falls 6-3 to Miami in ACC Championship
May 25, 2012
By Brittany Adams, WakeForestSports.com
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Wake Forest starter Brian Holmes struck out seven in 6.1 innings, but Miami used a three-run seventh inning and an eight-inning outing by starter Eric Whaley to defeat the Demon Deacons 6-3 on Friday evening at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro in the ACC Baseball Championship.
With the loss, the Deacs were eliminated from title contention after going 1-2 in pool play. Wake Forest now stands at 33-24 on the year and while Miami improves to 36-20.
Holmes (7-3) took the loss for the Demon Deacons after allowing six hits and four runs. Whaley earned the win for the Hurricanes to even his record at 4-4 on the year.
The two teams traded runs through the first five innings before the Canes went ahead 3-2 on an RBI double by Brad Fieger in the top of the sixth. Miami tacked on three insurance runs in the seventh, and while the Deacons attempted a late rally in the ninth, getting one run back on a Brett Armour RBI single and putting two more runners on base, but Eric Nedeljkovic came on to get the final out and earn the save for the Hurricanes.
Carlos Lopez hit his 10th home run of the year in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2. Mark Rhine, Pat Blair and Armour chipped in two hits apiece for the Deacons, with Armour driving in two of Wake Forest's three runs.
Michael Dimock picked up the final four outs of the game for Wake Forest without allowing a hit.
Holmes came out of the gates strong, recording two strikeouts in the first inning and one more in the second. Pat Blair then jump-started the offense in the bottom of the inning, working to a full count before sending the next pitch down the right field line for a leadoff double but was unable to come around to score.
Rony Rodriguez launched a solo home run over the left field wall in the second inning to put the Hurricanes on the board first, but Brett Armour would even it up for the Deacs in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single back up the middle that plated Charlie Morgan.
Morgan had reached first base to begin the inning after an error by shortstop Jarred Mederos, and he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Rhine. One batter later, Armour drove a 2-2 pitch back up the middle to send Morgan home and even the score at one run apiece.
The Demon Deacon defense proved stellar in the third inning, as Rhine went to ground at third to knock down a hard-hit ground ball by Stephen Perez and fire to Lopez at first in time for the second out. After walking Dale Carey on the next at bat, Holmes then picked him off as he attempted to steal second to end the inning for Wake Forest.
Holmes came up with two huge strikeouts in the fourth, retiring cleanup hitter Brad Fieger and five-hole hitter Rodriguez to prevent a runner on third from scoring. But Peter O'Brien followed with an RBI single to right field to plate Mack from third and give Miami a 2-1 advantage.
Once again, the Deacs responded right back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning as Lopez sent a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run that knotted the score at two.
After a scoreless fifth inning by both teams, Miami struck with one run in the sixth on an RBI double by Fieger that scored Mack from first to put the Canes back in front 3-2. But Holmes responded in a big way by striking out Rodriguez for the second out of the inning. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Holmes delivered in the clutch once again, striking out Jarred Mederos to get the Deacs out of the jam.
Justin Van Grouw entered the game in relief for the Deacs with one out in the seventh inning, but the Hurricanes scored three runs in the top half of the inning by virtue of three straight RBI hits to extend their lead to 6-2.
Junior reliever Nate Jones took the mound for Wake Forest in the eighth, recording the first two outs of the inning before turning things over to closer Michael Dimock. Earlier in the inning, Evan Stephens had made an amazing diving catch in right center field for the second out, preventing Mederos from scoring from second base. He followed that up with another sliding catch on a ball hit by Carey to shallow center for out number three.
The Demon Deacons added one more run to their total in the ninth inning, as Rhine laced a one-out single to left center field and pinch hitter Jack Carey followed by drawing a walk to place runners on first and second. Each runner moved up a base on a wild pitch, and Rhine came home to score when Armour drove an RBI single back up the middle to give the Deacs their third run of the game.
Wake Forest will now wait to learn their fate in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA selection show will be shown this Monday at noon on ESPN.