March 4, 2012
CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati baseball team dropped a 6-5 decision to Oakland (Mich.) University in the finale of a four-game series Sunday afternoon at Marge Schott Stadium.
UC had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, but sophomore OF Ronald Cotton was thrown out at the plate trying to tag from third for the final out of the ballgame.
Oakland (1-7) scored two runs off UC (4-6) bullpen ace Zach Isler in the top of the ninth to regain the lead at 6-5. With runners on first and second and no outs, OU right fielder John Estes hit an RBI single that tied the game 5-5. An intentional walked loaded the bases. After an infield fly made it two outs, Isler threw a ball four on a full count that allowed the go-ahead run to score.
Oakland’s rally answered a four-run rally UC mounted in the previous half inning. Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth, four Bearcats crossed the plate to give Cincinnati a 5-4 lead. Freshman outfielder Taylor Schmidt led off the frame by reaching base thanks to an OU infield error. Sophomore shortstop Matt Williams followed with a single to set up runners on first and second and no outs. Sophomore second baseman Ryan Quinn put Bearcats on the corners with one out after he legged out a fielder’s choice to avoid a double-play ball. Junior outfielder Jake Proctor drove in Schmidt with an RBI single to center field. Sophomore DH Justin Glass then walked to set up bases loaded for rookie third baseman Joey Bielek, who drove in Williams with a sacrifice fly to the right-field warning track. Senior OF/C Braden Kline hit a two-RBI double to right field that scored Proctor and Glass and put the Bearcats in front 5-4.
UC was led offensively by Proctor and senior catcher Jake Saylor, who each went 2 for 4, to account for four of the Bearcats nine base hits.
UC starting pitcher Christian McElroy dominated the Oakland offense early, recording seven strikeouts through the first four innings, before being pulled after getting into trouble in the fifth. The 6-foot-4 righty finished the ballgame allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks in 4.1 innings.
The first two Oakland batters in the fifth inning singled. McElroy then walked the next batter to set up a bases-load, no-out situation. In the next at-bat, McElroy induced a 6-3 double play that allowed the Grizzlies to score their first run. With an opportunity to escape the inning with just one run scored, McElroy extended the frame with another walk before getting pulled with runners on the corners with two outs.
Left-hander Jason Pascuzzi entered the game for McElroy and provoked a groundball to the right side against the first batter he faced, but an infield error extended the inning and allowed OU to plate another base runner and take a 2-0 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Proctor smacked a line-drive single to left field. The following batter, Glass, smoked a 3-0 pitch to deep center field for a double that allowed Proctor to cross the plate from first base and pulled the Bearcats to within one run at 2-1.
The Grizzlies extended their lead to three after scoring two runs in the top of the seventh to go up 4-1 when OU designated hitter Nolan Jacoby and first baseman Todd Dunham recorded back-to-back RBI hits.
Cincinnati next plays 4 p.m. Friday when it welcomes Chicago State University to town for a four-game series at Marge Schott Stadium.