Wake Forest Tops West Virginia, 4-1

Ryan Johnson's triple in the eighth inning brought in two runs to give the Deacs the lead for good.

MORGANTOWN, W.VA. - Ryan Johnson's two-out triple to right center in the eighth inning drove in two runs to snap a 1-1 tie and lift No. 3-ranked Wake Forest to a 4-1 victory over West Virginia Wednesday night at Hawley Field.

After being blanked through six innings by Mountaineer freshman lefthander Zac Cline, the Demon Deacons scored all four of their runs from the seventh inning on.

"I'm pretty happy about the way I pitched tonight," said Cline. "I'm really grateful to the coaches for giving me the opportunity to pitch and the experience I've gained through this whole year is something I can build on."

"We saw an excellent freshman lefthander out there tonight," said West Virginia coach Greg Van Zant. "He really carved them up but he just made two mistakes. They are a really good team and they take advantage of those mistakes. They have weapons offensively and they also have plenty of pitching."

West Virginia took a 1-0 lead in the sixth when senior Chris Schmidt singled to center off Wake Forest starter Tim Morley to drive in Grant Psomas, who reached on a walk.

Wake tied the game in the top of the seventh when designated hitter Ryan Braun drove an 0-1 pitch over the Lowe's sign in left field. Braun smacked his second home run of the game and his eighth of the year in the top of the ninth to the same location. "Both of the home runs I just left pitches a little too far over the plate," Cline said. "It was a couple of mistakes that he really made me pay for."

West Virginia stranded base runners in the first, second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. After a two out walk to Chad Blevins in the seventh, Wake Forest coach George Greer brought in righthander Brian Bach to face West Virginia's Mike Frownfelter. Bach got Frownfelter to fly out to left to end the inning.

West Virginia got things going in the eighth off All-American closer Dave Bush. Tim McCabe walked on four pitches to start the inning and Psomas smacked a 2-1 pitch into right center to advance McCabe to third. However, Bush got Dallas Crews to pop out to the catcher and Schmidt grounded into an inning-ending double play to short.

Bush retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up his 12th save of the year.

Morley pitched 6 2/3 innings for Wake Forest, allowing one run on three hits with a career-high 10 strikeouts. Bach was credited with the victory and improves to 6-1 on the season.

Cline went the distance, allowing four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. The Erie, Pa., native retired the first seven hitters before shortstop Ben Ingold singled with one out in the third. Cline then retired the next seven batters before Jeff Ruziecki singled to right.

He threw an economical 118 pitches, 74 of which were strikes.

"I had it going there for the first few innings and I don't know if the last few times through the order they finally caught on to the way I was pitching, but I felt confident the whole game and I just made a couple of crucial mistakes," Cline said. "Maybe against some other teams you can make some mistakes and get away with it but they really make you pay and that's why there such a great team."

Wake Forest's six through nine hitters were a combined 6-for-16 for the evening. Braun and Ruziecki led the way with two hits each.

West Virginia got hits from Blevins, Frownfelter, Psomas and Schmidt. The Mountaineers stranded eight base runners for the game.

There were several outstanding defensive plays in the game. McCabe made an outstanding backhand play to his right on ma sharp ground ball hit by Ryan Hubbard and fired a perfect strike to Blevins at second to force Ingold.

In the bottom of the third, Wake third baseman Jamie D'Antona made a pretty play on Mike Frownfelter's drag bunt attempt down the third base line. Three innings later West Virginia's Jarod Rine leaped over the Jersey Subs sign in left field to rob Hubbard of a home run.

"It was a great play," said Van Zant. "There were maybe one or two plays that I've seen like that here. Fulton Walker made one like that in 1981 or 1982 against Pittsburgh when he jumped over the fence to make a catch. Tonight's catch by Jarod was a major league play."

In the top of the seventh, Mountaineer rightfielder Chris Schmidt made a sliding catch on Stephen Ghutzman's sinking line drive. "It was a fun game for me to watch just being out on the mound," Cline said.

Wednesday night's game was senior day for WVU's five seniors Blevins, Frownfelter, Schmidt, Crews and pitcher Clayton Ewen. Blevins performed the national anthem by playing his trumpet before the game.

The victory pushes Wake Forest's record to 40-8-1 entering a weekend series at Duke. West Virginia falls to 24-23.

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