March 16, 2012
CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati baseball fell to Michigan State University 4-3 Friday evening at Marge Schott Stadium.
The Bearcats were led offensively by senior designated hitter T.J. Jones (2 for 3), as well as sophomore right fielder Justin Glass and freshman third baseman Joey Bielek, who each went 2 for 4. Bielek, junior center fielder Jake Proctor and senior right fielder Braden Kline each drove in one run.
Cincinnati (8-7) held a 2-1 lead through three innings before Michigan State (8-7) scored in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
Trailing 4-2 in the top of the eighth, Cincinnati (8-6) had a great opportunity to tie or take the lead, but could only muster one run. Proctor led off the eighth with his second home run of the season after crushing a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall that landed into Sheakley Lawn that made the score 4-3.
The ensuing batter, Glass singled to center field for his second hit of the game. Two batters later, Bielek doubled down the right-field line to put runners on second and third with one out. Senior first baseman Spence struck out swinging for out No. 2. Senior catcher Jake Saylor loaded the bases after inducing a walk. Pinch hitter Kiley Jones then entered the ballgame and struck out looking to end the inning.
Michigan State got the scoring started in the top of the first inning. MSU centerfielder Anthony Cheky led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third base two batters later on a wild pitch. Spartans third baseman Torsten Boss drove in Cheky with a sacrifice fly to left field, putting MSU up 1-0.
Cincinnati claimed the lead in the bottom half of the first inning after the Bearcats crossed home plate twice with two outs. Glass singled to the right side of the infield and then stole second base. The next batter, Kline belted a two-out RBI double down the left field line that allowed Glass to score. Bielek followed with a two-out RBI double of his own that set up a run for Kline.
The Spartans tied the score 1-1 in the top of the fourth. With runners on the corners and two outs, MSU designated hitter Ryan Krill hit a bloop single to right-center field for a game-tying RBI.
Michigan State reclaimed the lead in the top of the sixth inning. Facing a full count with two outs, Spartans catcher John Martinez singled up the middle of the infield, allowing RF Jimmy Pickens to score from second base.
Bearcats starter Christian McElroy was replaced by Gentile after the Martinez RBI single. McElroy’s game ended after he allowed six hits with one strikeout and four walks in 5.2 innings pitched.
Gentile struck out four and allowed one run in 3.1 innings of relief.
MSU tacked on a fourth run in the seventh. With one out, Spartans left fielder Jordan Keur singled to left field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. The next batter, Boss drove in Keur with a double to left-center, making the score 4-2 in favor of the Spartans.
After allowing two early runs to the Bearcats, MSU senior right-hander Tony Bucciferro settled down and limited the UC offense. Bucciferro struck out 10 batters and allowed six hits in seven innings pitched.
The Bearcats and Spartans will play the second game of their three-game series at 4 p.m. Saturday, which will be streamed live on GoBEARCATS.com UC freshman left-hander Zach Morris is slated to get the start.