May 5, 2012
NORWICH, Conn. — Junior right-hander Zach Isler (Union, Ky./Covington Catholic) allowed just two runs over seven innings, but a two-run walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the University of Cincinnati baseball team a 4-3 loss to University of Connecticut in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Dodd Stadium.
Clinging to a 3-2 lead heading to the bottom of the ninth, redshirt sophomore RHP Christian McElroy started the frame with a hit batsman and then walked the second batter to put runners on first and second with no outs. McElroy struck out UConn center fielder Billy Ferriter for the first out before Huskies second baseman LJ Mazzilli doubled to straightaway center field on a 2-2 pitch that drove in two runners and ended the ballgame.
Isler recorded his second consecutive outstanding start for the Bearcats. The 6-foot-5 flamethrower allowed just two runs and scattered nine hits while striking out four Huskies in seven innings pitched.
The UC offense produced three hits, highlighted by senior catcher Jake Saylor’s (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton/Paradise Valley CC) second home run of the season. Senior designated hitter Cory Hough (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) and junior shortstop J.P. Jackson (Bowling Green, Ky./Bowling Green/Western Kentucky) each added RBIs.
Junior lefty Thomas Gentile (Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales) entered the game with the Bearcats up by one run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Gentile hit the leadoff batter, UConn right fielder Stanley Paul, who then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Designated hitter Jon Testani flew out to deep right field, allowing Paul to tag and advance to third base. McElroy relieved Gentile and provoked pinch hitter Joe Pavone into popping up to second base.
UC scored twice in the top of the sixth inning to take a 3-1 lead. UConn starting pitcher, senior right-hander David Fischer, began the sixth by hanging a first-pitch breaking ball to Saylor, who sent the offering over the left-field wall for a leadoff solo longball that put Cincinnati head 2-1. Sophomore outfielder Justin Glass (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) and Hough walked in consecutive at-bats. Senior outfielder T.J. Jones (Cincinnati, Ohio/La Salle) bunted foul with two strikes for the first out. Glass and Hough tried a double-steal, but Glass was caught at third for out No. 2. After senior second baseman Sam Vandenheuvel (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton/Mesa CC) walked, Fischer was relieved by redshirt freshman RHP Carson Cross, who issued a two-out single to Jackson that drove in Hough from second base.
Fischer’s outing ended after allowing three runs (all earned) on two hits with six walks and seven strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings pitched.
The Huskies shrunk the Bearcats lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh on UConn first baseman Tim Martin’s sacrifice fly.
Cincinnati tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning. Saylor led off with a walk and advanced to third on UC’s first hit of the day – a double to the right-center field gap from Glass – which put Bearcats on second and third with no outs. While facing a full count, Hough clubbed a line drive to center field for a sacrifice fly that plated Saylor and evened the score.
UConn took an early one-run lead after producing the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning. Ferriter led off with an infield single to shortstop and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A fly ball to right field allowed Ferriter to tag and advance to third base with two outs, setting up an RBI single for UConn third baseman Ryan Fuller.
The Bearcats and Huskies will play Game 2 of their Saturday twinbill at approximately 4:15 p.m. Real Talk 1160 and RealTalk1160.com will carry the action live.