Bearcats honing defense despite sweep of NYT

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Even in a sweep of New York Tech this weekend, the baseball Bearcats are hoping to clean up defensive concerns with a game against No. 13 Kentucky on deck. 

By Ashley Davis/Special to

CINCINNATI -- After wins on Friday and Saturday by a combined score of 29-3, the bats were a little more silent Sunday afternoon at Marge Schott Stadium, even as the Bearcats (4-5) completed a three-game series sweep of New York Tech with an 8-3 victory.
Rather than swing for the fences, they capitalized on NYIT's errors with timely singles and heads-up base running. Five of the Bearcats' eight runs scored were unearned.

"We were able to sneak some runs across," head coach Brian Cleary said. "With the stolen bases we got two runs, [and] a run on a wild pitch."

Freshman catcher Woody Wallace had a season-best three hits and an RBI after starting the season with a .188 average. One of those hits came with a runner in scoring position after a NYIT error and another came in the form of a leadoff hit. He then later scored on a passed ball.

"I got a lot of confidence under my belt now," Wallace said. "It's good to get back in the groove."

However, even though the team did capitalize on NYIT's errors, Cleary feels like they still gave away potential runs, leaving eight men on base throughout the course of the game.

"I thought we got really unaggressive today in the sixth inning [with] bases loaded, nobody out and Perron and Glass and Wenzel and we can't cash in a run," Cleary said. "There's certainly some things we can keep doing better."

While NYIT committed three errors, the Bearcats didn't play much better in the field. They did not commit an error, but looked shaky, especially on the infield. Cleary knows they have to get better at certain aspects of the game.

"We've got to play better on the infield," he said. "We cost ourselves a couple runs today because we can't finish a double play."

Freshman Ian Happ played shortstop on Sunday and had some poor throws. It was possibly a little out of character for him as he has been a solid defender through the beginning part of the season, with no errors in 55 chances.

"Today was a chance to just try to get Perron in the infield [and] Happ at short," Cleary said. "I think we were fortunate that we felt like we were swinging the bats well enough that we were going to get away with playing some different people and still get away with a win."

The team next heads to Lexington on Tuesday to play No. 13 Kentucky.

"Kentucky will be a good test, [and a] good opportunity to test ourselves against what might be the best team they've had in awhile," Cleary said. "And they've had a couple different good teams the last couple years." 

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