This past weekend was always going to be a telling one for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Although they had managed to remain relevant in the American Athletic Conference in the first few months of the season, there was still a need to prove themselves. A weekend visit to Wichita State seemed like the perfect opportunity and UC took advantage, winning the series with victories on Friday and Sunday sandwiching a setback on Saturday.
The Bearcats have won five of their last seven games, including a series sweep against the Kansas Jayhawks the weekend before facing the Shockers. They are 24-21 overall and, more importantly, 10-8 in league play, which has them qualified for the AAC Championship.
Game One - Cincinnati 8 Wichita State 2
In the fourth inning, the Bearcats scored five times and that’s all they would really need as J.T. Perez dominated. The lefty ace threw seven sparkling innings, allowing only one earned run while scattering seven hits. He induced plenty of soft contact, and got nine outs by groundout, while striking out two. Clayton Colvin them mopped up the final few innings while striking out four.
Connor McVey paced the offense, going 3-for-5 with two RBI. McVey batted third and got plenty of table setting, as leadoff hitter Kyle Mottice went 3-for-5 and Joey Thomas went 2-for-5. Eric Santiago and Treg Haberkorn had multi-hit games as well, with Haberkorn adding two steals as well.
Game Two - Wichita State 9 Cincinnati 1
The sequel to Friday’s dominant showing was a downer. After the Bearcats knotted the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, the Shockers took over, scoring eight runs in the final six innings, including a six-spot in the seventh. Five different Shockers had multi-hit games, but they only had one extra-base hit as Gunnar Troutwine doubled. Instead, it was just a parade of singles that did the Bearcats in. AJ Kullman took the brunt of the damage, letting up six runs on seven hits and three walks after reliving starter Nathan Kroger, who fell to 1-3 after being blown up for three runs on seven hits in three frames.
Santiago drove in UC’s lone run of the game and went 3-for-4. He also was one of only a few Bearcats not to be stung by a strikeout, as UC batters went down without making contact 10 times.
Game Three - Cincinnati 5 Wichita State 1
When Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm launched a solo home run to right field in the bottom of the first inning, it looked like the Shockers might be en route to the win. However, Cam Alldred settled down after that mistake and befuddled the Shockers for seven innings. In that time he allowed only three hits while striking out 10 batters. He has 72 punchouts in 67 1⁄3 total innings this season and has thrown seven frames in each of his last two starts. Garrett Schoenle had a nice turn in relief, earning his second save with two no-hit innings.
The UC offense was pretty quiet for most of the game, but a three-run home run from Haberkorn in the top of the ninth provided some breathing room in the final frame.
Series MVP - Cam Alldred
Afters splitting the first two games, UC could have very easily dropped the series finale, but Alldred didn’t let that happen. With 10 strikeouts, he showed just how filthy his offerings are and his work ensured that the Bearcats left Wichita with a series win.
Haberkorn deserves an honorable mention. Including his three-run home run on Sunday, he went 4-for-8 with four RBI. He also posted an on-base percentage of .692 thanks to being plunked four times.
This will be a busy week for the Bearcats. They will continue the current nine-game road streak they are on, starting with Xavier on Tuesday and Louisville on Wednesday. Then they’ll challenge 33-12 East Carolina this weekend.