Feb. 28, 2010
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Behind a season-high 14 hits, the University of Cincinnati baseball team closed out the 2010 Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge with a 12-4 win over No. 13 Ohio State University Sunday afternoon at the Naimoli Complex. The win evened UC's record at 3-3 on the season and it was the highest-ranked team the Bearcats have beaten since defeating No. 11 TCU, 12-4, on April 4, 2004.
Cincinnati got a solid start from Columbus, Ohio, native Thomas Gentile, who went four innings, and gave up four runs, but left the game in the fifth with runners on first and second with no outs leading 8-4. Junior Brian Sand shut the door on the Buckeyes in the fifth without allowing another run to score and pitched 5.0 innings of no-hit baseball to earn his first win of the season.
Cincinnati jumped on the board in the bottom of the first courtesy of an Ohio State (5-1) error with two outs. Junior Chris Peters started the threat with a one-out double to right-center field, before moving to third on back-to-back walks to sophomore T.J. Jones and senior Kevin Johnson. After a strike out, sophomore Cory Hough hit a pop up to the second baseman that was dropped as he was retreating into right field, allowing Peters and Jones to cross the plate putting the Bearcats on top, 2-0.
UC built upon its early 2-0 lead in the second inning when it used a lead-off single by junior Mikel Huston and a hit-by-pitch to both senior Jimmy Jacquot and senior Jamel Scott to load the bases. Peters reached base on an infield single to second base, scoring Huston and advancing Jacquot and Scott, before another infield single by Jones plated Jacquot, keeping the bases loaded for Johnson. A sacrifice fly by Johnson plated the third run of the inning and left runners on the corners with one out, but that would be it for the Bearcats as it went to the third inning with a 5-0 lead.
Ohio State got two runs back in the third on a two-out, two-run home run by Michael Stephens, cutting its deficit to 5-2, but Cincinnati got those runs back in the fourth.
With one out in the fourth inning, Scott singled through the left side and proceeded to steal second and third base with Peters at the plate. Peters walked to put runners on the corners, and T.J. Jones delivered again with a two-RBI double to push the lead to 7-2. Two batters later, a pinch-hit double by freshman Logan Jackson allowed Jones to score, widening the lead to six runs, 8-2.
Three straight extra-base hits by the Buckeyes to start the fifth plated two runs and quickly made the score 8-4. After a Stephens walk put runners on first and second with no outs, OSU's Ryan Dew hit a deep fly ball to right field that looked to be a three-run home run, but a leaping catch at the wall by Huston saved three runs and during the next at-bat, Sand forced Brian DeLucia to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the scoring threat.
The Bearcats continued to swing the bats well as a one-out double by Huston to left-center field put a runner in scoring position in the fifth, and Huston scored during the next at-bat on a single to left field by senior Jimmy Jacquot, pushing the UC lead back to five runs, 9-4.
The scoring didn't stop there for Cincinnati as three straight singles to start the sixth, including a seeing-eye RBI single through the right side of the infield by junior Justin Riddell ballooned the UC lead to 10-4, and left runners on first and second base. After a Huston sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, a sacrifice fly by Jacquot plated another run and moved Riddell to third base. The Bearcats final run of the day came during the next at-bat when a throwing error off a Scott ground ball scored Riddell and upped the lead to 12-4.
Sand proceeded not allow a Buckeye to advance past third base in the final three innings and struck out the final batter in the ninth inning to preserve the 12-4 victory.
The UC defense turned five double plays on the Buckeyes, including two inning-ending double plays.
Peters led the Bearcats with three hits on the day, while Jones drove in a team-best three runs. In addition to Peters and Jones, Jackson, Hough, and Huston also recorded multi-hit games.
The Bearcats play their first home series of the 2010 season when they welcome Youngstown State to Marge Schott Stadium March 5-7. The series begins at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 5. Season tickets are still available by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX.