March 14, 2008
CINCINNATI-- The University of Cincinnati baseball team battled back from an early four-run deficit to knot the game, at 4-4 after seven innings, but Niagara pinch hitter Clint Elkins's one-out double plated Bobby Lenhard in the top of the ninth to score what proved to be the difference in a 5-4 victory.
Cincinnati starting pitcher Dan Osterbrock struck out seven batters over seven and two-thirds innings of work, but it was Niagara's four runs in the top of the second that put UC behind early.
The Purple Eagles' (6-4) started the second inning with back-to-back singles by Steve Baldinelli and Frank Kurnik. Following a failed sacrifice bunt attempt notched the first out, Chris Leendertse doubled to bring home the first run of the game. After Osterbrock punched out the next batter on strikes, he mishandled a groundball and allowed the second run Niagara run to come home. Andrew Macdonald continued the inning with a two-run double to left field that made it a 4-0 margin.
Baldinelli and Kurnik each finished 2-for-4 at the plate to lead Niagara.
In the UC half of the second, the Bearcats' Kevin Johnson smashed a solo home run to make it 4-1. In the ensuing Cincinnati at-bat, Cameron Satterwhite with his first home run of the year, a solo shot to left field that cut the difference to 4-2.
Cincinnati (4-7) found itself with another run-scoring opportunity in the sixth inning. Jamel Scott started the UC half of the inning with a walk, stole second base and moved to third on a fly out. With one away, Josh Harrison flied out to right field and allowed Scott to come home and make the score 4-3.
With two away in the home half of the seventh Chris Peters reached base on an infield single. After Tony Campana walked, Scott singled and plated Peters. The RBI single allowed UC to come all the way back and knot the game at 4.
UC relief pitcher Evan Sanford
found trouble in the top of the ninth when he yielded a leadoff single to Lenhard and Leendertse's sacrifice bunt moved the runner up one station. Pinch hitter Clint Elkins came to the plate and doubled down the right field line to bring home the game-winning run.
UC's comeback attempt was highlighted by Campana's 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Already with two singles, the senior tried to stretch a single into an extra-base hit in the bottom of the ninth, but was cut down at second base to all but seal the Bearcats' fate.
Michael Kellar allowed three runs over five and one-third innings in his third start of the season for the Purple Eagles. Right-hander Dennis Chacko gave away the lead in the seventh, but Mark Sikorski (1-0) extinguished the Bearcats' comeback hopes, allowing no runs on two hits over the final two and a third to earn his first win of the year.
After pushing the start back three hours due to rain, neither side could produce in the first inning.
With rain showers forecasted for the Cincinnati area on Saturday afternoon, the doubleheader between Cincinnati and Niagara has been moved ahead two hours for an 11 a.m. first pitch.