Baseball secures first ACC win over Florida State

While winning one game over the No. 8 Seminoles, the Demon Deacons lost the other two games in the series


Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

Freshman Danny Corona (4 RBIs) had three hits in the Friday game against Florida State, two of which left the park for home runs.

Essex Thayer, Sports Editor

After opening the season 12-1 in out-of-conference play, the Wake Forest baseball team began their conference schedule this past weekend, dropping two of the three games in the series against Florida State. The Seminoles were picked to win the Atlantic Division of the ACC — the division in which Wake Forest plays — and are ranked No. 8 in the NCAA.

In the Friday matchup, three hits from freshman Danny Corona – two of which were home runs – powered the Demon Deacons to a 9-3 victory over the Seminoles. Sophomore starting pitcher Rhett Lowder delivered a solid six-inning, two-run performance and the Wake Forest bullpen closed the game with three scoreless innings.

Following a postponement of the Saturday game due to inclement weather, the Florida State pitching staff produced a near-perfect game in the first matchup of the Sunday doubleheader – a 5-1 win. After 5.2 innings from starter Bryce Hubbart, who only gave up one run, the Seminole bullpen closed the game with 3.1 scoreless innings. In turn, Wake Forest freshman starter Josh Hartle allowed five runs, four of which were earned, giving him his first loss.

The second game of the doubleheader turned into a pitchers’ duel, with Florida State starter Ross Dunn allowing two runs over seven innings and Wake Forest starter Seth Keener giving up three runs over five innings. Both bullpens closed the game with scoreless innings, giving the Seminoles the 3-2 win.

For the first four and a half innings of the Friday game, Wake Forest was held scoreless, until Corona stepped up to the plate. Trailing by two runs, the freshman infielder ripped a solo home run to center field, opening up the score for the Demon Deacons. This heated up the Wake Forest bats, as redshirt sophomore Adam Cecere brought in two more runs on a single, giving the Demon Deacons their first lead of the day.

In their next inning, Wake Forest went right back to their scoring ways. With two men on base, sophomore Jake Reinisch singled to left field, bringing redshirt Brandan Tinsman home and extending the Demon Deacons’ lead to two runs. The next Demon Deacon to come to the plate, Corona, followed his fifth-inning home run with another, launching a second ball out of the park for a three-run home run.

“Corona had a career day today,” Wake Forest Head Coach Tom Walter said after the game. “It was really nice to see Danny have a couple great at-bats.”

With the dominance of the bullpen, Wake Forest maintained their 7-2 lead into the eighth inning, where Corona once again added to the scoreline with a two-RBI single.

Despite a ninth-inning solo home run from Florida State, redshirt sophomore Derek Crum closed the game with just that one run allowed, giving the Demon Deacons their first ACC win of the season.

“Tonight was a great team win,” Walter said after Friday’s game. “It’s always a good feeling to get off to a good start in league play.”

In the first game of their doubleheader on Sunday, Wake Forest’s bats fell flat, with the team only connecting for four hits and one run against a very strong pitching effort by Hubbart. 

Following three scoreless innings from Hartle, the Seminoles finally got the best of the freshman, bringing home a run in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded, Florida State hit a ball into the infield that the Demon Deacons turned into a double play, though a run still crossed the plate. Hartle was able to get Wake Forest off the field with just that run given up by securing a strikeout two batters later. In the next half inning, the Demon Deacons were able to even the score on a sacrifice-fly by Tinsman.

In the fifth inning, the Seminoles went right back to work. A double on the first at-bat of the inning turned into a triple off an error in the outfield. A ground out from the following batter brought the runner home, giving Florida State the lead again. In the sixth inning, the Seminoles moved even further ahead on a two-run home run and an RBI double. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Wake Forest looked primed to get back into the game, loading the bases with two outs. Walter brought in freshman Tommy Hawke to pinch-hit, and he struck out swinging.

“I was proud of the way we battled,” Walter said after the game. “We just couldn’t find that one big hit to jumpstart us.”

Following the defensive stand, the Seminoles bullpen closed out the game with three scoreless innings, giving the team the 5-1 victory.

In the second game of the Sunday doubleheader, the Wake Forest offense once again lacked its usual pop. The Demon Deacons’ only score came in the first inning, a two-run home run by sophomore Brock Wilken. In the second inning, Florida State added all their runs for the game. Unfortunately for the Demon Deacons, they had one more run. 

To open the second inning, Alex Toral hit a solo home run. Then, with two runners on base, Jackson Greene brought a runner home on a sacrifice fly, evening the score. The crucial, final run for the Seminoles was plated by a single by Jaime Ferrer. From there, both teams pitched shutouts for the rest of the game, giving Florida State the one-run victory.

After the game, Walter was critical of his offense’s success in relation to the team’s pitching.

“Today was a disappointing day,” Walter said. “We pitched well enough to win. I was proud of our bullpen and the way that they stepped up.”

Despite the disappointing losses, Wake Forest secured a win against a Top-10 team in the nation, a feat that garnered them national recognition. The Demon Deacons will look to follow the victory with success in their weekend series in Atlanta against a strong program in Georgia Tech, the team picked to finish first in the ACC’s Coastal Division.