When Cincinnati upset Kentucky 2-1 in extra innings on March 8, it was a marvel. Not just because the Bearcats knocked off a strong SEC team but because they limited it to just one run. Throughout that game, it just felt like something was going to go wrong and the Wildcats would break through. But nothing ever did.
On Tuesday, the proverbial other cleat dropped and dropped hard. UK (19-7) smashed out 13 runs on 11 hits to overcome and early deficit and send UC (12-12) home with a 13-7 setback. Playing at their home of Cliff Hagan Stadium, the Wildcats got multi-hit games from center fielder Marcus Carson (3-for-5), third baseman Luke Becker (2-for-3) and shortstop Connor Heady (2-for-3), while managing five extra-base hits, including Becker’s home run in the bottom of the third inning.
A.J. Olasz, who was stunning in UC’s win over UK earlier this season, had his ERA balloon to an even 3.00 after a rough 29-pitch start on Tuesday. The junior lefthander allowed three runs on as many hits in just 1 1⁄3 innings before being pulled. He was one of eight pitchers to find their way to the mound for the Bearcats. A.J. Kullman was the fourth hurler to enter the game and he had the worst day of any of them, letting up five runs while recording just a single out. Kullman’s struggles allowed UK to push past UC and hand him his third loss of the campaign.
If the pitching had been better (and by better I mean just serviceable) this could have gone a different way. The Bearcats hit fairly well in the contest and capitalized on base runners, scoring seven runs on nine hits. First baseman Ryan Noda carried the day, swatting his third and fourth home runs of the season and finishing with five RBI. Second baseman Kyle Mottice went 2-for-5 out of the leadoff spot and A.J. Bumpass only had one hit in three at-bats, but he also walked twice.
Now that this SEC trip is out of the way, the Bearcats will turn their attention to their American Athletic Conference opener against Memphis at Marge Schott Stadium on Friday.