April 27, 2012
By Shawn Sell
CINCINNATI -- Four errors, including two in the top of the 10th inning led to Cincinnati's undoing in a 3-1 extra inning loss to Rutgers on Friday night at Marge Schott Stadium. The setback, UC's sixth in a row, came in spite of a career-high 10 strikeout performance from junior righthander Zach Isler (Union, Ky./Covington Catholic).
Cincinnati (13-30, 2-14 BIG EAST) had a golden opportunity for a walk-off victory in the bottom of the ninth, getting the winning run to third base with one out. Junior J.P. Jackson (Bowling Green, Ky./Western Kentucky) led the inning off by serving a double down the right field line and moved to third on a ground ball to the right side off the bat of T.J. Jones (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle). But Rutgers' (24-17, 9-7 BIG EAST) hurler Willie Beard induced a ground ball out against a drawn in infield for out number two and then after a pair of walks (one intentional), froze Matt Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian) for strike three to kill the rally.
In the 10th, defensive replacement Kiley Jones (Louisville, Ky./Eastern) committed a pair of fielding errors at first base, paving the way for an RBI ground out by Jeff Melillo and a sacrifice fly by Steve Zavala to push Rutgers ahead for good. The markers came against tough luck loser Thomas Gentile (Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales) who allowed just one hit in three innings of relief.
The story of the night appeared to belong to Isler who was dazzling in his first starting assignment since last season's BIG EAST Championship. Through six frames, Isler frustrated Scarlet Knights' hitters with a hard fastball and a mix of off-speed stuff, yielding just four hits along the way. He appeared to be in line for a win after a Joey Bielek (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chapparal) third inning sacrifice fly gave UC a 1-0 lead. The seventh started with a Vinny Zarrillo single, before RU's Bill Hoermann worked the count full against Isler. With the runner breaking for second on the full count offering, Hoermann took ball four, but UC backstop Jake Saylor (Chandler, Ariz./Paradise Valley CC) threw to second anyway, with the ball ultimately striking Zarrillo and sailing into centerfield to allow the runner to take third. One batter later a fielder's choice scored Zarrillo to tie the game at 1-1.
(Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) collected two of Cincinnati's five hits at the plate, stretching his hitting streak to seven games and tallying his team-best 20th multi-hit game of the year. Patrick Kivlehan recorded two of Rutgers' six hits in the victory.
UC will once again look to get back on track, taking on Rutgers on Saturday in a game that is now scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. first pitch. Bearcat freshman lefty Zach Morris (Edgewater, Md./DeMatha Catholic) will take the ball for the home team facing Rutgers junior southpaw Rob Smorol.