March 20, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS – The University of Cincinnati baseball team’s three-run eighth-inning rally came up short as the Bearcats suffered a 7-5 setback to Butler University Tuesday afternoon at Bulldog Park.
Trailing 7-2 in the top of the eighth, junior first baseman Kiley Jones (Louisville, Ky./Eastern) shrunk the deficit to three runs at 7-4 with a two-run home run to left field, his first dinger since Feb. 26, 2010. After back-to-back singles from sophomore second baseman Ryan Quinn (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) and junior centerfielder Jake Proctor (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills), freshman designate hitter Taylor Schmidt (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) brought the Bearcats to within two runs with a bloop single to left center, which scored Quinn and saw Proctor hustle from first base to third.
With the score now 7-5, Butler inserted closer Chase Byerly to face sophomore right fielder Justin Glass (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll), who swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded out to Byerly at the pitcher’s mound. The next batter, junior catcher J.P. Jackson (Bowling Green, Ky./Bowling Green/Western Kentucky ) grounded out to second base to end the UC rally.
Offensively, the Bearcats racked up 15 hits, but left 13 runners on base. Sophomore shortstop Matt Williams (Mason, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian) paced Cincinnati with a 3-for-5 performance. Jones, Proctor, Schmidt and senior catcher Braden Kline (Warsaw, Ind./Warsaw Community) all added two hits apiece.
Cincinnati freshman pitcher Bryan Chenoweth (Lafayette, Ind./McCutcheon) made the first start of his collegiate career. The 6-foot-1 right-hander was charged with the loss after he allowed seven runs on nine hits with one walk and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched.
The Bulldogs pulled away from Cincinnati with four runs in the bottom of the third to go up 5-0. With runners on first and second and one out, BU center fielder Marcos Calderon singled up the middle for an RBI. Two batters later Marcos’ brother, BU third baseman Lucas Calderon, also hit an RBI single up the middle. The ensuing batter, BU catcher Mick Hladek then cleared with the bases with a two-RBI triple to center field.
Trailing 5-0, Cincinnati showed promise for a big fourth inning, but came away with just two runs. With one out, Glass doubled down the right-field line and scored one batter later when Kline singled to left field for an RBI. UC had runners on first and second after freshman third baseman Joey Bielek (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chapparal) singled to the third baseman. Williams drove in Kline from second base with an RBI single to left field that made the score 5-2. The Bearcats then loaded the bases with two outs after a walk from senior first baseman Nic Spence (Victoria, Australia/St. Josephs/Central Arizona CC), but couldn’t plate another runner in the inning.
The Bulldogs responded to UC’s two-run outburst in the top of the fourth with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. BU first baseman Jimmy Risi and center fielder Marcos Calderon each hit RBI singles before Chenoweth was replaced by senior lefty Cory Hough (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro )with two outs in the fourth.
Hough hit the first batter he faced before ending the inning with a groundball out to shortstop. In the bottom of the fifth, Hough was replaced by freshman right-hander Arthur Warren (Stryker, Ohio/Napoleon), who threw three scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Fellow freshman RHP Evan Hills (Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East) pitched a scoreless ninth to cap a perfect 4.1 scoreless innings for the UC bullpen.
Butler put the first run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Bulldogs left fielder Michael Fries and designated hitter Pat Gelwicks hit back-to-back singles through the right side of the infield to put runners on first and second. Fries and Gelwicks advanced one base after a groundball out to first base. With two outs, right fielder Mike Hoscheit hit a grounder to UC shortstop Matt Williams in what appeared to be the third out of the frame, but Williams short-armed his throw, allowing Fries to score from third for an unearned run.
UC will play No. 2 Kentucky (21-0), the last remaining unbeaten team in NCAA Division I baseball, at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Marge Schott Stadium. The game can be seen on GoBEARCATS.com and listened to on Real Talk 1160 (WQRT-AM) or RealTalk1160.com.