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.