Matchup: Cincinnati Bearcats (13-14) at Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (7-19)
Location: McKie Field, Oxford, Ohio
Series History: Unfortunately, the RedHawks lead this long and storied series history, with 100 wins in 168 total meetings. However, Cincinnati took a 1-0 win on March 16 at Marge Schott Stadium.
Time/Probably Starters: 6 p.m./A.J. Olasz (2-1, 3.00) vs. TBD (0-0, 0.00)
Meet the Opponent ... Again
A 1-0 pitchers duel was on the menu for fans who took in the first meeting between these teams on March 16. Miami right-hander Grant Hartwig threw eight innings of one-run ball, which would normally be plenty for a win, but wasn’t that time around. Hartwig, who also plays catcher, has not always been so spectacular and neither have the RedHawks, who are 7-19 overall and are coming off a three-game series sweep at the hands of Central Michigan.
Hartwig is part of a staff with a 5.97 ERA, which doesn’t give much credence to the idea that the RedHawks will be able to produce another strong pitching performance. There isn’t much hope that the offense will make up for it, depending on Cincinnati’s pitching, as Miami has a slash line of .214/.300/.306 as a team and ranks dead last in the Mid-American Conference in batting average. Adam Yacek (.310/.396/.437) and Ross Haffey (.290/.355/.440, four home runs) are some dangerous bats in the lineup, but the rest of the group does not get balls to drop for hits very often.
Yacek, a third baseman, went 2-for-3 against UC earlier this season, accounting for almost half of the team’s hit total (six) in the shutout loss.
Miami has not announced its starting pitcher for this one, but we can be sure that whoever takes the mound will not strike fear into the Bearcats, particularly A.J. Bumpass, who did not play against Miami before, but has been tearing it up since. The Bearcats, who are no offensive juggernaut themselves, have been buoyed by Bumpass’ breakout year, as the outfielder has accumulated 15 extra base hits and produced an OPS of 1.058. He has also stolen three bases, which has continued to be a part of UC’s repertoire, as the team has 27 steals on 36 attempts. If you are looking for a hero from the first game between these two clubs, its Cole Murphy, who went 2-for-3 with a double and the game-winning RBI, which just happened to come in the fifth inning.
Another protagonist of that game was A.J. Olasz, who will start once again on Tuesday. He tossed six shutout innings and struck out four RedHawks back in March. He has been solid this season, pitching to a 3.00 ERA and a .189 opponent batting average. He has not done much in ways of strikeouts (eight), and was pounded for three runs in just 1 1⁄3 innings last week against nationally ranked Kentucky. Odds are the RedHawks won’t be as potent with the lumber (well metal actually).
Its a pot calling the kettle black situation when saying Miami can’t hit from a UC perspective. The Bearcats are last in the American Athletic Conference in team batting average (.235) and only just recently got over the 200-runs scored plateau. With that said, Olasz has been largely excellent and the staff for UC (3.55 ERA) is much stronger than that of the RedHawks. Even though its not great on the road (4-10), UC should take this one.