TALLAHASSEE, FL – In its first-ever weekend as the No. 1 team in the country, Wake Forest played like it, comprehensively defeating Florida State 10-0 Friday night at Dick Howser Stadium on a previously agreed upon run rule.
“When we [Walter and Florida State head coach Link Jarrett] talked this morning, he said he wanted to do [the run rule] all three games,” head coach Tom Walter said after the victory. “It makes sense. This time of year, we’re both on a short week, we both have a Tuesday game, then we got another short week behind that with a conference tournament. It just makes sense.”
Fresh off a scoreless seven innings a week prior against Boston College, starter Rhett Lowder dominated once more, allowing just four hits and no runs in seven innings, while striking out six. And he did all that on just 87 pitches.
“Rhett Lowder was spectacular tonight,” Walter said.
With the inclement weather surrounding the start of the game, pushing it back an hour, getting seven innings out of Lowder was a win in itself.
“Happy that we got a full start out of Rhett Lowder,” Walter added. “Anytime there’s weather around us like that, you worry about a lightning delay that’s going to pull your starter off the mound. Neither team wanted that.”
In addition to Lowder, the Wake Forest bats were impressive. After being held scoreless in the first inning, Brock Wilken led the second off with what could’ve been a home run — if not for a brilliant play in center to bring the ball back into play. Wilken would touch home just pitches later on a Pierce Bennett sacrifice fly. Justin Johnson scored as well on a Marek Houston double.
The game wouldn’t truly break open until the fourth inning, and it was Danny Corona who got the job done.
Corona, who saw on and off action for the opening portion of ACC play, has made a strong case to be an everyday starter as of late — in his past three starts, the sophomore has gone 6-10 with six RBI and two home runs.
Corona furthered that logic Friday, sneaking a pitch on the good side of the right-field foul pole for a three-run home run.
“I’m not giving up on Adam Cecere by any stretch,” Walter said. “I mean, Adam’s our guy, and he’s going to be back in there. Danny is just swinging a little better than he is right now.”
With the hunger of a player whose home run was stolen, Wilken nabbed it in the seventh. A two-out crack of the bat proved to be a no doubter — the ball soared 389 feet over the left-field wall at an exit velocity of 107 mph.
Leading 6-0 in the eighth, Wake Forest added to the cushion. With runners on the corners, Houston singled home a run, then Costello added two more with a single of his own. For the final run of the inning, Wilken doubled in Costello, bringing the junior a single short of the cycle.
The victory — Wake Forest’s first in the ACC as the No. 1 team in the nation — means something. But by no means is it everything. It’s just another part of the journey for Walter and his team.
“It’s just important to win,” he said. “At this point in the year, we’re fighting for things more important than being No. 1. Fighting for a league championship, fighting for a national seed. A win today gets us one step closer to those things.”
A win tomorrow will accomplish one of those goals — an ACC regular-season championship. First pitch, after being moved up from 3pm due to more weather in the forecast, will be at 12pm on ACCNX.