Jr. Brendon Neel paced UC with two RBIs Saturday at St. John's.
March 30, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. — The University of Cincinnati baseball team’s ninth-inning rally came up short as the Bearcats fell to St. John’s University 7-4 Saturday afternoon at Jack Kaiser Stadium.
With one run in, bases loaded and the go-ahead run at the plate, junior Matt Williams and freshman third baseman Devin Wenzel each hit into a fielder’s choice to end the ballgame.
The Bearcats fought hard to be in a ninth-inning, game-tying situation as they stranded 12 base runners and had a hard time hitting St. John’s redshirt freshman left-handed pitcher Ryan Horstman. He kept the Bearcats off balance for most of his outing, allowing just one run and three hits in seven innings pitched to pick up his fourth win of the season.
Bearcats freshman right-handed pitcher Austin Pritchard made his first collegiate start and allowed four runs on five hits with one strikeout in 4 1-3 innings.
Offensively, UC mustered six base hits, led by a 2-for-5 game by junior left fielder Justin Glass and two RBIs by junior DH Brendon Neel. Freshmen Ian Happ and Woody Wallace and Williams each added one hit.
UC got on the board first after plating one run in the top of the second inning. Wenzel hit a one-out fly ball to right-center that was ruled a three-base error on STJ center fielder Martin Kelly, who ran from center field and misjudged the trajectory of the ball that sailed over his glove. Neel drove home Wenzel with a sacrifice fly to deep left field for a 1-0 Bearcats lead.
UC led until the bottom of the third inning when St. John's scored two runs thanks to poor infield defense. STJ shortstop Lombardo led off the frame by getting hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a groundball down the third-base line that Wenzel booted on a backhand, but was ruled a single, to put runners on first and second with no outs. STJ CF Pat Talbut reached on a fielder's choice to Pritchard, who looked for the force out at third base before dropping the ball, loading the bases with no outs. Following two fly outs, 1B Frank Schwindel singled up the middle for two RBIs and a 2-1 STJ lead.
St. John's added its third run in the bottom of the fourth when SS Kyle Lombardo hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring C Danny Bethea, who led off with a double to left field.
UC fell behind by six runs after St. John's totaled three runs in the fifth inning. Pritchard was relieved by sophomore RHP Art Warren with one out and a runner on first in the frame. Warren allowed three consecutive hits before redshirt freshman righty Bryan Chenoweth took his place on the mound and retired the first two batters he faced to end the inning.
STJ added a seventh run in the sixth inning on an RBI double to deep right field by left fielder Alex Caruso off of Chenoweth, who allowed one run on one hit with one strikeout in 1 2-3 innings before freshman southpaw Mike Conrad entered the game in the seventh. Conrad pitched two scoreless innings of relief, striking out one.
UC cut the deficit to 7-3 after scoring twice in the eighth inning. Glass and Happ led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Williams walked to load the bases. Wenzel reached on an error by STJ shortstop Lombardo, which allowed Glass to score. Neel grounded out to third base, which scored Happ.
Cincinnati takes a break from conference play with a pair of midweek ballgames next week; starting with a 6:30 p.m. Tuesday matchup at Wright State and closing with a home game against Toledo on Wednesday.