A change in the lineup helped bring a change in result for the Bearcats, who snapped a four-game skid with timely hitting against Western Michigan.
By Ashley Davis/Special to GoBearcats.com
CINCINNATI -- With the Bearcats in the midst of a four-game losing streak, head coach Brian Cleary decided to tweak the lineup just a bit. He switched junior outfielder Justin Glass to the second spot and freshman Ian Happ to the third spot for the first game of a three-game series Friday against Western Michigan.
Obviously it worked for Glass.
He went two for five with a bases-clearing double in the eighth and a towering home run over the right-field scoreboard that hit off Fifth Third Arena in the third inning, as the Bearcats beat the Broncos 11-1.
"I knew I was going to see a lot of off speed [pitches] because he's a lefty pitcher and I'm left-handed," Glass said. "I always try to hit the ball hard, somewhere, and it just so happened it went over the fence."
Glass is not a newcomer to the second spot in the order. He hit there a couple times last year and during his freshman year. While he went 7 for 16, a .438 average. Over the past four games he had only one RBI and one extra base hit.
"I've been hitting some balls hard and stuff hasn't been dropping," Glass said. "It felt good today to finally do something for my team [and] produce some runs."
Cleary, however, looked at the bigger picture for his team.
"I thought it was far and away the best game we played all year," Cleary said. "We did everything well."
Sophomore Matt Lathuras made his first collegiate start and pitched five innings of two-hit, one-run baseball. The bullpen combined for four shutout innings. The base runners were both smart and aggressive, as evidenced by the five stolen bases. Freshman third baseman Devin Wenzel and freshman infielder Ian Happ completed a few web gems.
Cleary seemed most satisfied with the clutch hitting though.
"We got some really timely hitting today, which has been missing for us," he said. "We got some really good at-bats from guys with runners in scoring position with two outs."
UC had left 30 men on base during their four game losing streak.
Not only did Glass hit the ball well, but Wenzel also went 2 for 4 with four RBI and a home run onto Sheakley Lawn. Wenzel has now reached base in every game he's played this season.
"Devin's done really well," Glass said. Speaking of all the freshmen players, he said, "The scary part is they're only freshmen, so they're only going to get better. And they have a lot of time to get better."
Cleary doesn't know what his lineup will look like for future games, but there's a decent chance it'll stay the same for at least "a couple more days." After all, it already worked once.