For a team that ranked last in the American Athletic Conference in runs scored this season, the Cincinnati Bearcats looked like an offensive powerhouse on Tuesday in the first round of the league tournament. Led by a perfect 4-for-4 outing at the plate from right fielder A.J. Bumpass, the No. 2 seed Bearcats advanced past the No. 7 seed Memphis Tigers with an 11-6 win.
The bottom of the order really stepped up for the Bearcats (27-29) in this one, with the last four batters, including pinch-hitter Mason DeAnna, combining to go 9-for-32 with six RBI and eight runs scored. Despite leading the Bearcats in OPS this season, Bumpass was batting in the seventh spot but that didn’t stop him from reaching base five times. He had four hits, including a triple, and also drew a walk while driving in two runs and scoring three on his own. Second baseman Jace Mercer was lined up a spot above Bumpass and he went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and three runs scored. Jeremy Johnson played center field and collected two hits and as many RBI in three at-bats from the last spot in the lineup.
David Orndorff got the start for the Bearcats and despite an up-and-down effort, he was able to pitch his team to a win. He allowed four runs and let up a season-high three walks, but he also lasted six innings, surrendering zero runs during the last three. A.J. Kullman finished out the game by getting the final nine outs while allowing two runs on four hits.
The Bearcats really broke the game open in the fifth inning when they scored six runs to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 9-4 lead. The scoring got started with an RBI double from catcher Mitch Holding, which was followed by RBI knocks from Bumpass, Johnson and designated hitter Wyatt Stapp.
In the double-elimination tournament, the Bearcats will now advance to Thursday’s second round where they will play the winner of Tuesday’s final first round matchup between the UCF Knights and the Tulane Green Wave.