May 4, 2008
Box Score |
CINCINNATI---Mike Spina's first inning grand slam and a career-best start from Brian Garman helped Cincinnati ride to another BIG EAST series win, clinching a home set with Rutgers on the strength of a 7-3 win on Sunday afternoon. With just two weekends of BIG EAST play remaining, the Bearcats continue to hold down third place in the league standings, just one game out of first place.
Garman (4-2) making his first-ever start in a BIG EAST contest, gave the Bearcats 6.1 quality innings, marking a new career-high, striking out six along the way. He got all the offensive support he would need in the first as Spina cracked a grand slam over the right field wall to stake the Cats to a 4-1 lead.
"I think in a couple of weeks, we will look back on this one and realize just how important of a start that Brian Garman gave us," UC head coach Brian Cleary stated. "I couldn't be happier and more proud of the way he competed today."
After Saturday's offensive explosion by both teams, Sunday was more of a pitching dominated contest. Still, UC (29-18, 14-7 BIG EAST) tallied 11 hits, with Spina, Tony Campana, Josh Harrison and Ryan Baker collecting two apiece. Rutgers (20-25-1, 9-12 BIG EAST) finished with 10 hits, including three each by Mike Lang and Tom Edwards.
Garman got off to a rocky start on the mound, allowing runners to second and third with one out in the first. After uncorking a wild pitch to give Rutgers its first run, the sophomore lefty loaded the bases on a two-out walk to Jarred Jimenez. He quickly recovered however, striking out Luis Feliz to end the inning.
Rutgers starter Casey Gaynor (2-5) started the first inning much like Garman, allowing a lead-off single to Campana and then walking Jamel Scott
and Harrison to load the bases. After striking out Cameron Satterwhite
, Gaynor watched as Spina lifted his 12th home run and first grand slam of the season to put the Bearcats ahead to stay.
From there, Garman managed to stay out of trouble until the seventh inning when Lang led off with a single and scored one out later on an Edwards double that spelled the end of the latter's day. Jake Geglein was summoned from the pen and he delivered, striking out the next two hitters to end the Rutgers threat.
Clinging to a lead of only two runs, UC gave itself breathing room in its half of the seventh as Harrison knocked a two-run single to center to extend the Bearcats' lead to 6-2. Cincinnati added its final run on a Chris Peters' sac fly in the eighth, while Rutgers tallied its final marker on an Edwards RBI single in the ninth.
For the day, Garman allowed two runs on seven hits, while walking three. Geglein went the final 2.2 innings for his seventh save of the year.
UC returns to BIG EAST action next weekend, travelling to Seton Hall. It will be an important series for the Bearcats, who lead the Pirates by just one game in the BIG EAST standings.