Basketball season is over for the Cincinnati Bearcats, unfortunately. But that just means we can turn our full attention to baseball season! At least that’s what I keep telling myself while trying to hide from my grief about the Bearcats’ loss to UCLA in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night.
The men’s basketball version of the Bearcats were not the only ones in action this past weekend. The baseball ‘Cats were also playing and they succeeded in winning their first series of the campaign, taking two out of three from Northeastern at home. Cincinnati has now clawed itself to .500 on the season (9-9), thanks to the weekend and a 1-0 win over Miami-Ohio on Thursday. Here’s how the three games with Northeastern shook out to get the Bearcats here.
Game One - Northeastern 6, Cincinnati (12 innings)
A.J. Kullman let this extra inning affair get away from the Bearcats in the first half of a double-header. UC’s most trusted reliever came in for Cam Alldred in the top of the eighth inning with two runners on. Although he walked the first batter he faced, he got a swinging strikeout next to close out the inning. He then pitched the next four innings, including the 12th when the Huskies pushed three runs across on four hits.
UC’s offensive output came all in the second inning, scoring three runs on two hits and one error, with two of the runs coming via the unearned route. The Bearcats went just 7-for-39 on the day and committed two errors themselves while leaving nine runners on base. A.J. Bumpass had a nice day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with with a walk, while R.J. Thompson (2-for-4) had two hits of his own.
Andrew Zellner was the starter for the Bearcats and he gutted out 6 2⁄3 innings, allowing three runs in the seventh inning before being chased.
Game Two - Cincinnati 10, Northeastern 8
UC was able to take care of business without the need for extra innings in the second game on Saturday. J.T. Perez pitched well, even if the final score would not indicate that. He threw six innings and allowed eight hits and four runs, but only one of those runs was earned, while he struck out five batters. Thanks to three errors, UC allowed eight totals runs, but only two earned.
Luckily, the bats got it going, especially at the top of the order. Leadoff hitter Kyle Mottice went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI while Bumpass went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a home run out of the two hole. Treg Haberkorn launched his first home run of the season as did Eric Santiago, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the victory.
Game Three - Cincinnati 4, Northeastern 2
Mistakes from the Huskies once again elevated UC, which scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull away for the two-run victory. Joey Thomas doubled with one out in the sixth frame and came around to score on a single from Ryan Noda, who scored soon after on a wild pitch. Both Noda and Thomas each went 2-for-4, while the rest of the team had three hits in 23 at-bats.
That meant UC’s pitching staff had to carry the load and they certainly did. Clayton Colvin made the start and tossed five innings of two-run ball. From there, Alldred (one inning), Reese Robinson (1 2/3) and David Orndorff (1 1/3) each hung zeroes on the board, with Orndorff earning his third save along the way.
Series MVP - A.J. Bumpass
The talented outfielder was an on-base machine this weekend. For the weekend, Bumpass slashed .545/.667/.909, smashing a home run and a double along the way. He may not have been driving in a ton of runs, but he put himself in positions to score more often than not by constantly finding his way to the basepaths. Bumpass has been fantastic at the dish all season. He has accumulated strong stats on the slash line (.355/.452/.613) and in counting stats (nine RBI, nine runs scored, nine extra-base hits).
UC has a busy week ahead, as it will battle nationally ranked Louisville on Tuesday before a rematch at Indiana on Wednesday. Then, the Bearcats will play a three-game series against local rival Northern Kentucky.