The the last seven days featured equal parts victory and setback for the Cincinnati Bearcats, who came with a game of .500 after the first two games of the week but dropped back down with their first multi-game series loss since the end of March. While that’s a nearly Tweet-length summary, let’s move beyond the general and take a look at the specifics.
Game One - Cincinnati 15 Miami-Ohio 5
A week after falling just short against the RedHawks in the Joe Nuxhall Classic, the Bearcats were able to exact some revenge, doing so primarily with their offense. The key inning was the sixth when the Bearcats broke open a 5-5 tie with seven runs, effectively putting the game out of hand even with a few more frames to play.
All of those runs came because of patience more than actual hitting ability. Although center fielder Jeremy Johnson and second baseman Jace Mercer hit back-to-back singles to start the sixth, the Bearcats recorded five walks in the inning, including three with the bases loaded that brought runs across. Left fielder Joey Wiemer had the biggest hit of the inning, driving in a run with a double. He would add a home run in the seventh and finish with a 3-for-4 line that included four runs scored and two driven in. Johnson added in a 2-for-3 effort with three RBI from the ninth spot in the order, while Joey Bellini (2-for-5) and Cole Murphy (2-for-3) had multi-hit games as well.
On the pitching side of things, Drake Batcho got the start and allowed four earned runs across three innings, but he was picked up by the bullpen, with UC relievers combining for six innings, seven strikeouts and just one unearned run allowed the rest of the way. Andrew Noelker was at the forefront of that effort, dialing up three innings with four strikeouts.
Game Two - Cincinnati 3 Houston 2
Once again, it was one big inning that decided a UC victory. Wiemer launched a three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning in the opener of a three-game series with the Houston Cougars and that was all the Bearcats would need. David Orndorff made sure of that. The senior right-hander was brilliant, throwing eight innings and allowing just one run while striking out five and letting up only eight base runners. In his last two outings, which have both been starts, Orndorff has posted a 1.29 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 14 innings.
Things got a bit tense in the ninth when Korren Thompson was called on to close out the game, but after allowing the first five batters to reach base and getting one out on a fielder’s choice in between, Thompson shut the door with a strikeout and ground out, stranding the bases loaded and earning his fifth save in the process.
Game Three - Houston 3 Cincinnati 1
Another pitching duel went against the Bearcats, who mustered nine hits in 34 at-bats and got multi-hit games from Johnson, Eric Santiago and Wyatt Stapp but left too many men on base to capture another victory over the Cougars. The lack of clutch hitting with men on base wasted another strong start from Evan Shawver, who was handed the loss after allowing only three earned runs across seven innings with eight strikeouts. Shawver has struck out 20 batters in his last 14 innings pitched.
Game Four - Houston 8 Cincinnati 4
After splitting the first two games, the Bearcats fell short in their final matchup with Houston, dropping just their second AAC series of the season in the process.
Garrett Schoenle’s continued issues with finding the strike zone helped Houston get out to a 4-0 lead, as he walked five batters in 2 2⁄3 innings. The left-hander has walked at least five batters in three of his last four outings and has allowed 39 total this season. The walk issue spilled over to the bullpen as well, with Clayton Colvin (three innings, two runs allowed) and Chase Stewart (one inning, two runs allowed) each allowing two free passes. With all the extra base runners, the Cougars were able to turn only eight hits into as many runs, while the Bearcats had only four runs on 11 hits. Stapp had four of those hits, but they were all singles. Right fielder A.J. Bumpass went 2-for-5 with a double and a triple and Bellini added two hits of his own.
This Week’s MVP - Joey Wiemer
Even though he was rather quiet in the final two games of the week, Wiemer carried the Bearcats’ offense in the first half and ended up going 5-for-15 with two home runs and five RBI combined. That equates to a slash line of .333/.381/.800. On a team without many sources of power, Wiemer has been one of the better options, with a team-high five home runs.
The Bearcats have a busy week in store. They will attempt to improve their overall record (18-21) against the Louisville Cardinals and Eastern Kentucky Colonels during the week and then try to boost their AAC standing (8-7) when they host Wichita State for three games next weekend.