Missed Opportunities Mar Bearcats Success at the Plate

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The Bearcats managed seven hits against Baseball America's top 100 prospect Jeff Thompson, but couldn't cash those hits into runs to flip the outcome of the 4-1 loss to Louisville in the Reds Collegiate Invitational at Great American Ball Park. 

By Ashley Davis/Special to GoBearcats.com

CINCINNATI -- Junior outfielder Justin Glass has been good friends with Louisville junior pitcher Jeff Thompson since they were young. They played travel ball together, faced each other in high school and now play each other every year in college. So it's not a huge surprise that Glass was able to get two hits off Thompson in the Bearcats game against the Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.

"I've probably (had) 20-30 at-bats against him," Glass said. "I knew what he was about. He made good pitches on me, I put a good swing on it and I found the holes. I got a little bit of bragging game on him then."

Thompson came into the game with a 5-0 record and a 0.59 ERA, giving up only three earned runs and striking out 46 in 46 innings pitched for Louisville. He hadn't allowed a run in his last three outings.

He pitched like that at GABP on Saturday, striking out nine UC batters and once again allowing no runs in Louisville's 4-1 win over the Bearcats.

While UC did get seven hits off Thompson, they failed to take advantage of several scoring opportunities. Most notable was in the bottom of the sixth when they loaded the bases with only one out, but did not score. Designated hitter Ryan Quinn struck out and pinch hitter Brendon Neel popped out to the first baseman.

Head coach Brian Cleary knows that Thompson is a good pitcher and liked what he saw from his young team at the plate.

"I thought we did a pretty good job against him," head coach Brian Cleary said. "We [just] left some guys on base, we had some chances, even there in the ninth. It was just hard to really get going against him."

Cleary understands that it's going to take time for his guys, especially the freshmen, to get better at capitalizing on scoring opportunities. He says they try too hard at the plate and it leads to chasing pitches out of the strike zone.

"In general, we chase too many pitches that aren't good pitches to hit, and when you do that, there's no reason for the guy to give you one you can hit," Cleary said.

Glass agrees the team tries to do too much. They let the idea of missed opportunities get inside their head and then try too hard to get a hit. His solution: Relax.

"Home run doesn't have to be the answer every time," he said. "We just got to play more relaxed, not make it as big of a deal; (instead) make it more like a backyard wiffleball game and have fun with it."

Whatever relaxation techniques Glass is doing must be working since he's currently riding a 13-game hitting streak.

"I've been watching the game more, learn how people are pitching me," he said. "I'm taking it over to BP and I'm taking that same BP swing into the game. It's working out for me."

Despite the outcome, Glass and his teammates still enjoyed playing on the field where the Reds had played just 30 minutes before.

"It was a good experience and playing against a great team in Louisville was awesome too," he said. "Hopefully we get another opportunity to do it. It's definitely something I'll remember the rest of my life."

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