March 26, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Wake Forest used a quick start and outstanding pitching from Tim Cooney to deal fifth-ranked Florida State a rare Atlantic Coast Conference home shutout loss.
Cooney struck out 11 and scattered five hits over 7.2 innings, quieting a Saturday night Dick Howser Stadium crowd of 5,633.
“The guy did a great job, he really did,” FSU coach Mike Martin said of Cooney. “He showed why he’s one of the best pitchers in our league. It was a beautifully pitched ballgame. He carved us up.”
The Seminoles (17-6, 5-3 ACC) got off to auspicious start. Wake Forest jumped out to a 3-0 lead against short-lived starter Scott Sitz in the first inning.
Steven Brooks reached on a fly ball single when center fielder Mike McGee slipped and fell, and Pat Blair pushed a bunt single up the third base line that refused to roll foul.
Mac Williamson put the first well-hit ball in play – over the left field fence for a 3-0 lead. Sitz struck out the side, but not before offering up a pair of walk.
“We broke back on a ball that landed in, and then a nice bunt, where we hesitated whether we were going to pick it up … or we were going to let it roll,” Martin said. “One or the other, you better do it quickly. The next guy made us pay for it. Little did I know, they didn’t need but one of those (runs).”
Wake Forest (8-14, 3-5) . He did what we asked him to do and Mr. Cooney said, `It doesn’t matter who you throw out there. I’m facing something else, other than Busch.’ He did a great job of making us waste a very good reliever.”
added two runs in the second on a pair of walks, two singles and a sacrifice fly. Carlos Lopez followed Matt Conway’s run-scoring sacrifice with an RBI single to left, which brought an end to Sitz’s start.
Trailing 5-0, FSU turned to former starter Brian Busch to replace Sitz. Busch held the Demon Deacons in check with 3.1 innings of one-hit, shutout relief, matching his season high with five strikeouts while issuing just one walk.
“He [Busch] did what we asked him to do and Mr. Cooney said, `It doesn’t matter who you throw out there. I’m facing something else, other than Busch,'” Martin said. “He did a great job of making us waste a very good reliever.”
Cooney was more than comfortable pitching with a five-run lead. The junior left-hander allowed just one hit – a James Ramsey double in the second – through the first four innings, facing just one batter over the minimum. In the fifth, he quieted the Seminoles most serious threat, enticing Stuart Tapley into an inning-ending double play after Sherman Johnson and Justin Gonzalez strung together one-out singles.
Florida State managed just six hits – two by Ramsey – on a night when they had an opportunity to open up a three-game lead in the Atlantic Division. Instead, they’ll head into Sunday’s series rubber match hoping that Gary Merians can deliver in his first weekend start in nearly a month.
“It really is a big game for us tomorrow,” Martin said.