April 10, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio – The University of Cincinnati baseball team fell to Wright State University 3-2 Tuesday afternoon at McKie Field in the opening round of the 2012 Joe Nuxhall Classic.
Cincinnati (11-20) had the tying run at second base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth after senior first baseman Nic Spence (Victoria, Australia/St. Josephs/Central Arizona CC) doubled to right-center field; however, junior center fielder Jake Proctor (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) struck out swinging to end the ballgame.
Wright State (20-10) pitching limited the UC offense for most of the game, striking out 14 Bearcats and allowing just hits.
Fresh off a BIG EAST Conference Honor Roll tribute, freshman right-hander Ryan Atkinson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) started for the Bearcats had with mixed results. One week after striking out 11 batters against Ohio, Atkinson punched out just three Raiders and allowed three runs on four hits and six walks in 4 2-3 innings.
Proctor led the Bearcats hitters after going 2 for 5 with one run scored and two stolen bases. Senior designated hitter T.J. Jones (Cincinnati, Ohio/La Salle) went 1 for 3 with an RBI and freshman third baseman Joey Bielek (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chapparal) drove in a run with 1-for-4 day.
Cincinnati decreased WSU’s lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Sophomore right fielder Justin Glass (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) hit a one-out double down the left-field line. Two batters later, Jones doubled to deep center, driving in Glass for UC’s second run of the day.
Atkinson’s day ended with two outs in the top of the fifth after surrendering an RBI single to third baseman Zach Tanner that gave Wright State a 3-1 advantage.
Redshirt sophomore Christian McElroy (Middletown, Ohio/Monroe/Sinclair CC) relieved Atkinson and ended the fifth by striking out WSU shortstop Justin Kopale. McElroy gave the UC pitching staff a boost by throwing 4 1-3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
After retiring eight consecutive batters, Atkinson walked two of his next three to put Raiders on first and second with one out in the top of the fourth inning. Wright State No. 9 hitter, left fielder Kyle Mossbarger, put WSU ahead 2-1 with an RBI single through the right side of the infield, driving in designated hitter Garrett Gray, who reached on a one-out walk.
The Bearcats knotted the score 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning. Proctor led off with an infield single down the third-base line and two batters later stole his second bag of the game. Bielek drove Proctor home from second base with a two-out RBI single up the middle of the infield.
Atkinson struggled to find the strike zone in the first inning. He walked four batters in the opening frame, setting up Tanner’s one-out sacrifice fly to right field that scored Raiders first baseman Jake Hibberd and put UC behind 1-0.
Cincinnati will play the loser of Tuesday’s second Joe Nuxhall Classic tilt between Xavier and host Miami (Ohio). If the Bearcats end up playing the Redhawks Wednesday, first pitch will occur at 6:30 p.m. at McKie Field, otherwise UC would take on XU at 3 p.m.