March 20, 2011
CINCINNATI - Junior Sam Vandenheuvel (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) batted 2-for-4 and earned his first career save to help the University of Cincinnati baseball team defeat Western Michigan University 3-2 Sunday at Marge Schott Stadium.
Vandenheuvel, who started the game at second base, drove in Cincinnati's first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning with an RBI single. Junior first baseman Nic Spence (Victoria, Australia/St. Joseph's) and freshman outfielder Ronald Cotton (Florence, Ky./Boone County) each followed by driving runs in to give UC an early 3-0 lead after the second.
In the bottom of the third inning, junior catcher Jake Saylor (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) belted a fly ball to centerfield to score senior shortstop Chris Peters (Tipp City, Ohio/Tipp City), who was tagging from third base on the play, and increase the Bearcats' lead to 4-0.
Fresh off of a BIG EAST honorable mention, senior RHP Nick Johnson (Delphos, Ohio/St. John's) produced another solid outing. Johnson, who is now 3-1 on the season, pitched six innings, allowing just one run and three hits, while striking out three.
In the top of the eighth inning, Western Michigan threatened to tie the game. The Broncos scored their second run after DH Grant Simotes hit a home run to left centerfield, shrinking UC's lead to 4-2. Two batters later, WMU third baseman Ryan McMillin hit an RBI double make the score 4-3.
After a hit by pitch put runners on first and second with no outs, Vandenheuvel was called upon to pitch and protect Cincinnati's lead. He retired three consecutive batters to get out of the eighth inining with Cincinnati still ahead, and then pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his first-career save.
With the win, the Bearcats took the series from Western Michigan three games to one. They have now won nine of their last 11 games.
Cincinnati hits the road to take on University of Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday before hosting University of Toledo at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Marge Schott Stadium.