April 9, 2013
CINCINNATI — Freshman infielder Devin Wenzel’s two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 5-5 tie and led the Cincinnati Bearcats past the Xavier Musketeers, 7-6, at Marge Schott Stadium.
The Bearcats overcame a 5-0 first-inning deficit en route to the victory. Cincinnati was aided by four Xavier errors leading to five unearned runs as the Bearcats improved to 12-18 on the season and the Musketeers fell to 14-15.
It was a 5-4 game in favor of the Musketeers until the bottom of the eighth inning. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Ethan McAlpine singled with one out and advanced to third on a single by junior left fielder Justin Glass. Glass hustled his way to second on the throw to third. Freshman infielder Ian Happ was intentionally walked to bring freshman catcher Woody Wallace to the plate. Wallace grounded to third in what looked to be an easy double play ball, but it was bobbled by Xavier third baseman Stephen Schoettmer, allowing McAlpine to score and tie the game at five apiece. Two batters later, Wenzel ripped a two-run double to deep right field that gave the Bearcats their first lead of the game, 7-5.
It was not smooth sailing, however, for Bearcats’ closer, senior right-hander Andrew Strenge, in the top of the ninth. The leadoff batter reached on an error and two walks loaded the bases with one out. Strenge struck out the next batter for the second out. Xavier sent up Tres Eberhardt to pinch hit and Strenge walked him to force in a run, making it 7-6. Strenge then got the next batter to ground into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end the game and pick up his fifth save of the season.
Redshirt sophomore RHP Matt Ring earned the win for the Bearcats after he tossed two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out two. Ring is now 1-1 on the season.
The Musketeers recorded six hits in the five-run top of the first inning, including five singles. The lone extra-base hit was a two-run triple by third baseman Stephen Schoettmer, plating the fourth and fifth runs of the inning. Four different Musketeers notched RBIs in the inning. The Muskies only collected two hits after the first inning and only one after the second.
It was a short outing for Cincinnati starter freshman RHP Austin Pritchard as he was lifted after just 1 1-3 innings of work. Pritchard was tagged for five runs on seven hits while walking one batter.
Senior lefty Thomas Gentile entered in relief of Pritchard and tossed 4 2-3 no-hit innings to neutralize the Musketeer offense. Gentile struck out five and walked three.
The Bearcats etched their way onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth in strange fashion. With two outs, Wallace reached on a two-base error, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on a wild pitch to make it a 5-1 game in favor of the Musketeers.
The Bearcats cut into the lead further in the bottom of the fifth. Junior designated hitter Ryan Quinn drew a one-out walk. Freshman third baseman Forrest Perron singled to advance Quinn to second. Junior Brendon Neel then came up to pinch hit for freshman second baseman Colin Hawk and shot a single to left field to seemingly load the bases, however, the ball was bobbled by Xavier left fielder Joe Forney and Quinn scored. McAlpine then walked, followed by a sacrifice fly by Glass to score Perron to make it 5-3. During the next at-bat, McAlpine attempted to steal second and Neel was able to score following the throw to second while McAlpine got caught in a rundown and tagged for the third out.
Xavier starting pitcher Scott Klever was the tough-luck loser. He tossed 7 1-3 innings and allowed seven runs, only two of which were earned. He surrendered six hits and three walks while striking out one. Klever dropped to 2-4 on the season.
Cincinnati will take on Wright State 7 p.m. Wednesday in the final of the Joe Nuxhall Classic at Marge Schott Stadium. It will be a rematch of an April 2 tilt that the Bearcats won 6-2 at Wright State. Freshman LHP Mike Conrad (0-0, 3.14) will toe the rubber for the Bearcats.