May 6, 2012
STORRS, Conn. — The University of Cincinnati baseball team fell to University of Connecticut 6-4 in 13 innings Sunday at J.O. Christian Field, the second time in as many days the Bearcats were defeated in walk-off fashion.
UConn third baseman Ryan Fuller hit a two-run home run to left field off UC redshirt sophomore RHP Christian McElroy (Middletown, Ohio/Monroe/Sinclair CC) in the bottom of the 13th inning to win the rubber match of the three-game BIG EAST Conference series.
Senior first baseman Nic Spence (Victoria, Australia/St. Josephs/Central Arizona CC) and redshirt sophomore outfielder Ethan McAlpine (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller) both hit 2 for 4, while sophomore second baseman Ryan Quinn (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) went 2 for 5 with two RBIs and sophomore center fielder Matt Williams (Mason, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian) scored two runs.
Cincinnati had difficulty generating offense late in the game as 12 of the Bearcats’ final 18 outs occurred on strikeouts.
Junior left-hander Thomas Gentile (Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales) pitched admirably for the Bearcats out of the bullpen. Gentile threw 7 2-3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits with four strikeouts.
UConn closer Scott Oberg gave the Huskies a jolt with a strong performance of relief pitching, setting career highs in innings pitched (5 2-3) and strikeouts (11).
The Huskies went hitless in 17 consecutive at-bats before first baseman Tim Martin led off the 11th inning with an infield single to third base.
The Bearcats plated three runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 4-4. Junior shortstop J.P. Jackson (Bowling Green, Ky./Bowling Green/Western Kentucky) singled up the middle. Williams reached on a fielder’s choice before McAlpine produced his second infield single of the day, placing runners on first and second with one out. UConn RHP Dan Feehan relieved RHP Will Jolin and walked Spence to load the bases. Feehan’s wild pitch allowed Williams to score, before Quinn drove in McAlpine and Spence with a two-RBI double down the left-field line that knotted the score
UConn gained the lead in the bottom of the second inning after scoring four runs. Huskies third baseman Ryan Fuller hit a leadoff double down the left-field line. Shortstop Tom Verdi walked two batters later to put runners on first and second. Strenge then struck out catcher Joe Pavone before surrendering a two-out, two-RBI single to left fielder and No. 9 batter Eric Yavarone.
Junior right-hander Andrew Strenge (Yardley, Pa./Holy Ghost Prep) was relieved by Gentile, who gave up a bloop single to left-center field to center fielder Billy Ferriter that drove in two runs and gave Connecticut a 4-1 lead.
All four runs were credited to Strenge, who allowed four hits with one walk and two strikeouts in 1 2-3 innings pitched.
UConn starter Brian Ward pitched five innings, allowing one run on two hits.
The UC defense saved a run in the bottom of the fifth when right fielder T.J. Jones (Cincinnati, Ohio/La Salle) took Huskies first baseman Tim Martin’s double down the right-field line and tossed a strike to Quinn, who made a dart of a relay-throw to senior catcher Jake Saylor (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton/Paradise Valley CC), who tagged Ferriter out at the plate.
Cincinnati recorded the ballgame’s first run of the day in the top of the second inning. Williams walked with two outs and reached second base when McAlpine bunt singled down the first-base line. Spence smacked a 1-1 pitch to center field for a single that drove in Williams and gave UC a 1-0 advantage.
The Bearcats will take a break from conference play when they travel to Oxford, Ohio to play Miami University 6 p.m. Wednesday at McKie Field. Tuesday’s ballgame against the Redhawks at Marge Schott Stadium has been cancelled. In anticipation of a possible rainout, both teams scheduled a 57th regular-season game, one over the NCAA limit; however, neither team has had to postpone a game due to weather in 2012.