Perhaps Cincinnati likes California more than Texas. The Cincinnati Bearcats fared poorly in Huntsville against Sam Houston State over the weekend, ruining a nice start in the Golden State the week prior. Starting with a double-header on Friday and wrapping up in a Saturday matinee, the Bearcats were outscored 18-11 and got back on the plane home with a 2-4 overall record.
The Bearcats struggles now have them ranked seventh in the American Athletic Conference in batting average (.238) and earned run average (4.18). That second number isn’t too bad, but the bats have clearly been too quiet. That was especially true in the first two games of this weekend’s series. Here’s a full rundown.
Game One - Sam Houston State 5, Cincinnati 3
This was the Manny Rodriguez game, as the UC shortstop went 3-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Unfortunately, the rest of the lineup didn’t show up to help him out. As a whole the Bearcats went 5-for-28 with seven strikeouts and five runners left on base. It’s too bad because starter J.T. Perez put forth a somewhat respectable outing, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings. He also had five strikeouts and was supported by solid relief from Clayton Colvin and Jarod Yoakam, who combined to allow one unearned run in two innings.
Game Two - Sam Houston State 3, Cincinnati 2
A pitchers duel broke out in game two of Friday’s doubleheader, well, until the ninth inning. With the Bearkats clinging to a 1-0 lead entering the final frame, the Bearcats needed the bats to wake up. They did just that, as A.J. Bumpass led off the inning with a base hit to center field. While Connor Mcvey and Jace Mercer failed to get on base after that, Cole Murphy got on with a two-out single and he and Bumpass moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Pinch-hitter Joey Wiemer then laced a two-run single to left and the Bearcats had themselves a lead.
Unfortunately, A.J. Kullman could not hold it, allowing three hits in the bottom of the ninth, including a game-winning two-run single. Kullman had come in in the seventh inning to relieve David Orndorff, who produced a brilliant performance (6 2⁄3 innings, one earned run, two strikeouts).
Game Three - Sam Houston State 10, Cincinnati 6
This back-and-forth contest finally got away from UC in the seventh inning when the Bearkats scored four runs to pull away. It was perhaps the most disheartening loss of the weekend since the Bearcats led 5-2 at one point.
At least there was a welcome offensive eruption, with UC going 12-for-37 as a team, including five extra-base hits. Treg Haberkorn (3-for-4, two RBI), McVey (3-for-5), Rodriguez (2-for-5), JWiemer (2-for-4) and Dondrae Bremner (2-for-4) all had multi-hit games, with McVey and Rodriguez both launching home runs as well.
Cam Alldred was UC’s starting pitcher and he failed to get out of the fourth inning, allowing five earned runs on eight hits. Nathan Kroger (2 1⁄3 innings, two earned runs allowed) and Jalen Wade ( 1⁄3 inning, three runs allowed) also got shelled.
Whatever. It’s still spelled Bearcat.
Series MVP - Manny Rodriguez
This is an easy one. Rodriguez was the only Bearcat to get a hit in every game of the series. He didn’t just put up 1-for-4 showings either (although he did in game two), but slashed .462/.462/.846 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Suddenly suffering from a four-game losing streak, the Bearcats will play their home opener on Tuesday against local rival Northern Kentucky before next weekend’s four-game set against Tennessee-Martin.