It may not have earned them a trophy or title, but the Cincinnati Bearcats closed out play in the Joe Nuxhall Classic with a 4-2 win over the Wright State Raiders at Marge Schott Stadium Wednesday night.
R.J. Thompson led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a home run, which was part of a three-run burst that was effectively all the Bearcats (19-18) would need. Thompson went 2-for-3 in the game as the only Bearcat with more than one hit. Connor McVey, Eric Santiago, Jace Mercer, Manny Rodriguez and Treg Haberkorn all recorded knocks, with Rodriguez’s triple the only other extra base hit besides Thompson’s dinger.
Wright State (25-10) came into this event with the best record among the participants, and it will leave that way as well, but that’s all the solace the Raiders will get after dropping back-to-back games to Miami (Ohio) and the Bearcats. Matt Morrow and Zach Weatherford each had two hits at the top of the order, but the rest of the lineup was held in check, with a team total of six hits in 31 at-bats. Four Bearcat pitchers saw to that, with Nathan Kroger doing a solid job as the starter (three innings, two hits, one run). Cam Alldred struck out two batters and hung a donut on the scoreboard to earn the win, his second of the season, and Reese Robinson and A.J. Kullman finished things off, with Robinson holding serve over four innings, while Kullman recorded his second save of the season despite loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth.
In the title game of the Joe Nuxhall Classic, Miami pounded out a 12-6 win over Xavier to capture its first ever Classic championship. The RedHawks entered the two-game tournament with the worst record among the participants and are still just 15-23 overall. However, they got the bragging rights after scoring five runs in the sixth inning to push on to victory. They were powered by a 3-for-5 day from right fielder Joe Gellenbeck.
All four schools will now return to the regular portion of their schedule, with Cincinnati doing so by beginning a three-game set against the East Carolina Pirates at Marge Schott Stadium on Friday. This won’t be the last time UC will see some of the teams from the Classic though. The Bearcats will face Wright State again on May 2 and will get two more shots at Xavier on May 9 and May 16 as well.