April 28, 2010
CINCINNATI – Behind two three-run innings, the University of Cincinnati salvaged a series split over Xavier University with an 8-5 victory over the Musketeers Wednesday evening at Marge Schott Stadium. Senior Kevin Johnson went 1-for-1 at the plate, which included a solo home run, reached base four times, and drove in two RBI to lead UC to the victory.
Eight players recorded hits for the Bearcats, including a team-high two hits from sophomore T.J. Jones. Freshman Andrew Strenge gave up two hits and two earned runs in 2.2 innings to pick up his third victory of the season.
After a scoreless first inning, UC scored in the second inning to take the early lead. Junior Mikel Huston drove in the first run of the inning with a RBI single to left-center field and eventually moved to third base following a walk to Johnson and an infield single from junior Nick Rohlfs. With the bases loaded, sophomore Kendal Coleman grounded out to the first baseman, but an errant throw by the Xavier first baseman trying to get the force out at home plate allowed Huston to score while keeping the bases loaded. On the next pitch, junior Chris Peters lined a single into left field that scored Johnson, but unfortunately for Cincinnati, Rohlfs and Coleman were out on the play and UC left the second inning with a 3-0 lead.
Xavier came back in the top of the third inning and manufactured a run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Zac Richard, cutting the Bearcats lead to 3-1.
With a zero balls, one strike count in the bottom of the fourth, Johnson single-handedly widened the UC lead back to three runs on a solo home run to right field moving the score to 4-1. The home run was Johnson’s sixth of the season.
The Musketeers continued to chip away at the lead with another run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, but Cincinnati continued to bounce back. Singles from Jones and senior Jimmy Jacquot put runners on first and second base with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, before senior Beach Brooks was hit by a pitch load the bases. Consecutive bases loaded walks to junior Justin Riddell and Huston plated two more runs, before Johnson collected his second RBI of the day on a sacrifice fly to center field that moved the Bearcats lead to 7-2.
Xavier inched back in the game with two runs in the seventh inning and one in the eighth inning to close within two runs, 7-5, but UC tacked on an insurance run in its half of the eighth on a bizarre play. With runners on the corners and two outs, Coleman attempted to steal second base but got caught in a run-down. In the midst of the run down, Xavier missed the tag on Coleman allowing Johnson to successfully steal home and increase the Bearcats lead to 8-5.
In the ninth inning, senior Andrew Burkett retired the Musketeers in order to pick up his 10th save of the season and preserved the 8-5 win.
With the save, Burkett is now in sole possession of second place on UC’s single-season saves chart.
The Bearcats return to the diamond on Friday, April 30, when UC welcomes West Virginia University to Marge Schott Stadium for the opener of a three-game BIG EAST Conference series. The game is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m.