Bearcats Sweep West Virginia In BIG EAST Twinbill|
April 30, 2010
CINCINNATI--Behind outstanding starting pitching performances from Brian Garman and Nick Johnson, the University of Cincinnati baseball team swept both ends of a BIG EAST doubleheader over West Virginia on Friday night at Marge Schott Stadium. Garman's complete game helped the Bearcats to a 9-3 game one triumph, while eight strong innings from Johnson in the nightcap paved the way for a 5-2 victory.
The victories were key for UC (22-20 overall, 7-10 BIG EAST) as the Bearcats fight for a position in next month's BIG EAST Tournament. West Virginia slips to 18-25 overall and 3-14 in league action with the setbacks. After yielding all three of WVU's runs in the first inning of game one, the Bearcat hurlers crafted 15 consecutive scoreless innings into the eighth inning of the finale.
While the pitching of Garman and Johnson stole the show, the UC offense was also on its game finishing with nine hits in each contest. Junior Justin Riddell led the way with a pair of hits in each game, while classmate Chris Peters finished the twinbill with three hits and three RBI.
Game one got off to a shaky start for the Bearcats as a pair of first inning errors led to three West Virginia runs. After a UC miscue, Grant Buckner ripped a double to center to score Dom Hayes with the night's first run. Kevin Griffin's RBI single two batters later made it 2-0 and following a Garman wild pitch, UC backstop Jimmy Jacquot launched a thrown into left to allow a third run to score.
The Bearcats jumped on the comeback trail in the bottom of the inning getting one run on a Mikel Huston run-scoring single and got another tally in the fourth on Peters' RBI single. The Bearcats went ahead to stay with a four-run fifth inning outburst that started with a T.J. Jones RBI double to right. Jacquot would snap the three-all tie with a sacrifice fly and UC took advantage of a West Virginia error for another run before Riddell capped the frame with an RBI single.
Cincinnati rounded out its scoring with single runs in each of the next three innings. Jamel Scott scored in the sixth on a WVU error, while Riddell came home on a Peters' fielder's choice in the seventh. UC's last marker came in the eighth when Jacquot pulled a Jonathan Jones offering just inside the left field foul pole for his eighth home run of the season.
Garman (4-1) took full advantage of a turn as the number one starter for the Bearcats, matching a career-high with nine strikeouts in his first career complete game. After yielding three hits in the first, Garman allowed just four for the final eight innings, while walking none.
The finale looked reminiscent of the opener as Johnson was in a bases loaded jam in the first inning, before working out of it. A switch seemed to come on for the junior after starting the second inning with three straight balls. Johnson battled back to get Chris Rasky to ground out, starting a string that saw the right-hander retire 12 of the next 15 hitters he faced. West Virginia finally solved Johnson in the eighth with an RBI groundout by Hayes, but not before the former tallied a career-high 11 strikeouts.
The Bearcat offense was there to back up Johnson, scoring single runs in each of the first two innings and two more in the fourth. In inning one, Jones doubled home Scott who had led the inning off with a walk and stolen base. Riddell led the second inning off with a triple and later scored on a double play.
In the fourth, the Bearcats gave themselves breathing room as Riddell and Kevin Johnson led the inning off with back-to-back doubles. Johnson would later score on a ground ball by Scott. UC's last run came in the seventh on a Peters RBI single.
After Nick Johnson departed, Sam Slavik took over on the mound and promptly gave up a lead-off home run to Jeremy Gum. Following a strikeout and a walk, Andrew Burkett was summoned from the UC bullpen and he recorded the final two outs for his BIG EAST-best 11th save of the season. Johnson's final line was a dandy with just six hits and two walks allowed in eight innings, along with the 11 strikeouts as he improved to 1-1 on the year.
The Bearcats and Mountaineers will attempt to conclude the series on Saturday at 4 p.m. Because of inclement weather in the forecast, be sure to check GoBEARCATS.com for updates as to the status of the game.