Before this week, the Cincinnati Bearcats had not secured a victory in a conference tournament game since 2008. Now they have won two in the span of three days as they held on to capture an 8-4 win over the Tulane Green Wave in the winner’s bracket of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday night.
Paced by a stunning effort from their pitching staff, particularly Nathan Moore and Korren Thompson, the Bearcats (28-29) have advanced to Saturday’s semifinals, with their opponent to be decided tomorrow.
Moore entered the game in the top of the fifth inning with no outs, taking over for starter Clayton Colvin, who ran out of gas after four solid innings of work. The Bearcats led 7-1 at that point, but after an error, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly, the Green Wave were able to cut their deficit to 7-4. They would not score again as Moore went on to throw 2 2⁄3 innings without allowing any runners to score beyond those that he inherited from Colvin (Editor’s note: This article originally said that Moore did not allow any runs. It has been updated for clarification.), while Thompson, who also entered the game with runners on base, recorded the last seven outs of the game, including key strikeouts to end the seventh and eighth inning.
This win was all about dancing out of danger for the Bearcats, as the Green Wave left 13 runners on base after leading the AAC in RBI (407) and runs scored (440) this season. It was also about some timely hitting for the Bearcats, who scored eight runs on nine hits. A.J. Bumpass had two of those hits, finishing 2-for-3 with a walk, a RBI and a run scored following his 4-for-4 effort in the first round. Mitch Holding hit a two-run home run in the third inning and finished with three RBI. (Editor’s note: This article originally left out Holding’s home run and RBI total. It has been updated to correct the error.) Wyatt Stapp went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs and Joey Bellini had a pair of RBI as well.
The No. 2 seed in this tournament, the Bearcats still have work to do this weekend, and possibly more against the Green Wave, who will play UCF on Friday night with a spot in the semifinals on the line.