April 11, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio – The University of Cincinnati baseball team fell to crosstown rival Xavier University 4-2 Wednesday afternoon at McKie Field in the third-round game of the 2012 Joe Nuxhall Classic.
Cincinnati (11-21) had runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but pinch hitter Matt Williams (Mason, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian) struck out looking to end the ballgame.
UC senior left-hander Brad Mergen (Albany, Minn./Albany/Indian Hills CC) recorded his best outing of 2012. In his first start since March 18, Mergen allowed three runs, only one of which was earned, and scattered 10 hits in a season-best 5 2-3 innings pitched.
Cincinnati ran their way out of potential scoring opportunities after two Bearcats were caught stealing at third base in consecutive innings. With runners on first and second in the sixth, freshman third baseman Joey Bielek (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chapparal) was thrown out at third on a double-steal attempt. The top of the seventh inning ended when junior catcher J.P. Jackson (Bowling Green, Ky./Bowling Green/Western Kentucky) unsuccessfully tried to steal third after a pitch bounced away from XU catcher Derek Hasenbeck, who recovered in time to throw out Jackson by a step.
UC tied the score 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning when sophomore outfielder Justin Glass (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) stroked an opposite-field double down the left-field line to score sophomore second baseman Ryan Quinn (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) from first base.
Glass led the UC offense by recording his 14th multi-hit game of the season with a 2-for-4, one-RBI effort. Jackson added an RBI and a 1-for-2 performance.
After the Bearcats knotted the score in top of the sixth, the Musketeers responded with one run to retake the lead in the bottom half of the inning. XU left fielder Daniel Rod doubled down the right-field line. Quinn mishandled XU second baseman Michael Moore’s single up the middle, allowing Rod to cross home plate and making the score 3-2.
Xavier (14-19) doubled its lead to two runs in the eighth inning when third baseman Tres Eberhardt scored from third base on a wild pitch to make the score 4-2.
XU threatened to extend its lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. With a runner on third base and just one out, Mergen induced a grounder to Quinn, who combined with senior shortstop Sam Vandenheuvel (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton/Mesa CC) to turn a beautiful 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
In the top of the second inning, Jackson's sacrifice-squeeze bunt scored Bielek and made the score 2-1 XU.
Xavier took the early lead after scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Eberhardt slapped a two-out single the opposite way through the left side of the infield, scoring first baseman Brian Bruening from second base for XU’s first run of the game. Designated hitter Vinny Nittoli followed with an RBI single up the middle that plated Eberhardt and put the Musketeers ahead 2-0.
Cincinnati will travel to South Bend, Ind. to play University of Notre Dame Friday through Sunday in a three-game BIG EAST Conference series. Game 1 of the series is set for a 5:35 p.m. first pitch with junior righty Andrew Strenge (Yardley, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) expected to get the start.