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Cincinnati Bearcats Baseball: Floodgates Open Late, UC Drops AAC Tourney Opener

The Bearcats’ first round bout with the UConn Huskies was competitive until it wasn’t.

Ben Solomon/

For the first six innings of the American Athletic Conference Tournament first round matchup between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the UConn Huskies on Tuesday, there was some back-and-forth baseball being played. UC got out to a 1-0 lead early, then UConn went ahead 3-1, the Bearcats pulled even and the Huskies eventually took a one-run lead.

Then the bottom of the seventh came.

Over the course of that inning and the eighth, the Huskies put up eight runs on the board despite only two hits. Walks and errors, as you might imagine, crushed UC’s chances at an upset over the No. 6 seed Huskies. The first two batters of the seventh reached via error and then, following an intentional walk, Willy Yahn erupted for a grand slam off of J.T. Perez. In the eighth, the first three batters got on via walk and then a sacrifice fly, triple and fielder’s choice later, the Huskies had a nine-run lead on their hands.

David Orndorff had pitched the first four innings of the game for No. 6 seed UC, letting up three runs on six hits and two walks. Perez pushed through the next three frames while letting up five runs, although only one was earned. Clayton Colvin and A.J. Olasz pitched the rest of the game.

UC’s bats really had some trouble making contact, with 12 strikeouts up and down the lineup. Jace Mercer and A.J. Bumpass each had two-hit games, but Connor McVey had the only extra-base hit, smoking a double in the fifth.

It will be a quick turnaround for the Bearcats, who will now face the No. 7 seed Memphis Tigers at 9 a.m. tomorrow in an elimination game.