Feb. 19, 2010
BOCA RATON, Fla. – A two-run fifth inning by the University of Cincinnati baseball team broke open a 1-1 tie and Cincinnati tacked on two late insurance runs to win its 2010 season-opener, 5-3, over Florida Atlantic University Friday evening at FAU Baseball Stadium.
“Considering we haven’t had much practice time on the field, I thought we played really clean and did a great job from start to finish,” said head coach Brian Cleary. “We got a great start from Dan [Jensen] and we had some timely hitting. We fought hard and found a way to grind out a win.”
Junior Dan Jensen went 5.0 innings and struck out four while giving up three hits and one earned run in his first career start en route to the win, giving UC its first season-opening win since the Bearcats defeated Duke, 3-2, to open the 2004 campaign. The win also was Cincinnati’s first in seven tries against Florida Atlantic.
The Owls mounted a ninth-inning rally scoring two runs and loading the bases with two outs to put the winning run on first, but senior Andrew Burkett forced a pop-out to earn the save.
The Bearcats got most of their offensive production from the bottom half of their lineup as hitters five through nine combined for eight of Cincinnati’s 11 hits. Senior Kevin Johnson and sophomore Cory Hough finished with two hits apiece, including a solo home run for each. Freshman Logan Jackson was the other Bearcat to collect two hits doing so in his debut in the Red and Black.
Johnson started the damage in the second inning for UC with a two-out, solo home run in his first at-bat of the season to place Cincinnati in front, 1-0.
FAU responded with a run in its half of the fourth inning to tie the game at one, but just as the momentum switched to the Owls, Cincinnati responded with two runs in the top of the fifth to recapture the lead.
Johnson led off the fifth with a single, before moving to second base when freshman Jake Proctor was hit by a pitch. As Hough put down a sacrifice bunt, a throwing error by the FAU third baseman allowed Johnson to score from second and moved Proctor and Hough to third and second base with no outs. Two batters later, a RBI ground out by sophomore T.J. Jones plated Proctor widening the Bearcats lead to 3-1.
Senior Brian Garman and junior Brian Sand pitched the next three innings without giving up a hit, allowing UC to tack on insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
In the eighth, a junior Chris Peters single kickstarted the inning and during the next at-bat, Peters moved up ninety-feet on a failed pickoff attempt by the Florida Atlantic pitcher. Two batters later, senior Jimmy Jacquot lined a RBI-single into the outfield bringing Peters around from second base to open up a 4-1 lead.
Hough’s solo home run in the eighth widened the Bearcats margin to four runs, 5-1, giving UC enough insurance to pull out the 5-3 win.
UC plays the second game of its three-game set against FAU on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 1 p.m. at FAU Baseball Stadium. Senior captain Tyler Smith is slated to start for Cincinnati and he will toe the rubber against Florida Atlantic junior Mike Gipson.