March 24, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Cincinnati baseball team completed its suspended series opener at No. 21 Louisville Saturday afternoon, with the Cardinals ultimately winning 10-2.
A Friday night thunderstorm stopped play with UC trailing 9-1 with one out and runners on second and third in the bottom of the seventh.
Cincinnati found itself down early after allowing eight first-inning runs as the Cardinals (16-6, 1-0 BIG EAST), who entered the weekend ranked first in the conference in team batting average and runs scored, took advantage of UC starter Christian McElroy’s (Middletown, Ohio/Monroe/Sinclair CC) struggles to find the strike zone in the first inning.
McElroy allowed five singles, hit two batters, threw two wild pitches, walked one and recorded a throwing error on a putout attempt at third base in the opening frame. The first nine Cardinals reached base as UofL scored eight runs and cycled through the batting order before McElroy retired the 10th, 11th and 12th batters of the inning.
Showing confidence in McElroy to bounce back from a rough first inning, UC head coach Brian Cleary opted to let McElroy to go back on the mound in the second. Starting with the final three batters of the first frame, McElroy retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced, before allowing a solo home run to Cardinals left fielder Jeff Gardner in the fourth inning, which made the score 9-1 UofL.
McElroy was relieved after allowing nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits with four strikeouts and three walks in 6.1 inning pitched.
UC freshman third baseman Joey Bielek (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chapparal) paced the UC offense with a 2-for-3 game as the Bearcats totaled seven hits compared to Louisville’s 10.
Sophomore right fielder Justin Glass (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) extended his hit streak to 12 games with a double down the left-field line in the eighth inning. After advancing to third base on a passed ball, Glass scored on a wild pitch to give Cincinnati its second run of the game.
Senior left-handed pitcher Brad Mergen (Albany, Minn./Albany/Indian Hills CC), who entered the ballgame Friday with one out in the seventh inning just before the weather delay, reentered the game on Saturday to pitch the final 1.2 inning for the Bearcats (8-12, 0-1 BIG EAST).
Mergen allowed a solo home run to UofL center fielder Adam Engel in the eighth inning to make the score 10-2.
Cincinnati scored its first run of the game in the second inning. Sophomore shortstop Matt Williams (Mason, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian) walked and advanced to second on a groundball out from senior catcher Jake Saylor (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton/Paradise Valley CC). With two outs, first baseman Nic Spence (Victoria, Australia/St. Josephs/Central Arizona CC) singled to left-center field off an 0-2 pitch from UofL ace Justin Amlung, which drove in Williams to make the score 8-1.
After reaching base on a leadoff walk to start the game, freshman left fielder Taylor Schmidt (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) left the ballgame in the top of the first inning once he injured his left leg on a successful steal attempt. Redshirt freshman Ethan McAlpine (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller) pinch ran and replaced Schmidt in the leadoff spot, playing left field.
The Bearcats and Cardinals will play Game 2 of their three-game BIG EAST series Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Jim Patterson Stadium. UC freshman Zach Morris (Edgewater, Md./DeMatha Catholic) will get the start for Cincinnati. The game be heard live on Real Talk 1160 WQRT-AM or RealTalk1160.com and can be seen on UofLSports.com/allaccess.