May 19, 2011
CINCINNATI - Sophomore left-hander Thomas Gentile (Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales) pitched a career-high 7.2 innings, but it was not enough as the University of Cincinnati fell to University of Connecticut 3-1 Thursday evening at Marge Schott Stadium.
Cincinnati (29-24, 13-12 BIG EAST) went inning-for-inning with UConn (38-14-1, 21-4 BIG EAST), the 2011 BIG EAST regular-season champions, but could not record the clutch hit needed to secure the win.
UConn took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second after LF Billy Ferriter hit an RBI single to right field and RF John Andreoli drove in a run by way of a fielder's choice.
The Huskies added to their lead in the top of the fourth. After shortstop Tom Verdi reached on an infield error and advanced to third on an erroneous caught-stealing attempt, 2B L.J. Mazzilli hit an RBI single up the middle to give Connecticut a 3-0 lead.
With junior RHP Matt Barnes on the mound for UConn, runs were at a premium for the Bearcats. Barnes limited UC to three hits during his six innings pitched. Cincinnati, however, showed patience at the plate in drawing six walks, which ran Barnes' pitch total up and allowed the Bearcats to face UConn's bullpen.
Junior catcher Jake Saylor (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) led off the seventh inning with a single to center field off UConn reliever Will Jolin. A walk and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with one out for sophomore CF Jake Proctor (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills), who drove in Saylor with a groundball out to third base. Cincinnati had runners on second and third with two outs when UConn inserted Dan Feehan into the game for Jolin to face freshman DH Justin Glass (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll), who flied out to left field on the first pitch of the at-bat.
Senior RHP Brian Sand
(Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) was inserted into the game after Gentile recorded the second out in the top of the eighth inning. Gentile set a new career high in innings pitched; breaking his previous mark of 7 IP recorded April 12 against Xavier University. Gentile held UConn to just six hits, while striking out two.
After Sand struck out Verdi looking on a breaking ball to end the top of the eighth, the Bearcats had their best shot at tying the game in the bottom half. A leadoff walk by senior RF Justin Riddell (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) was followed by consecutive fielder's choices, giving UC a runner on first with two outs. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for the Bearcats, prompting UConn to insert its closer Kevin Vance, who induced a fielder's choice groundball out by 2B Sam Vandenheuvel (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) to end the inning.
Sand recorded a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, but Vance repeated the feat in the bottom half of the inning to end the game.
Cincinnati and Connecticut will play Game 2 of a three-game BIG EAST series at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday at Marge Schott Stadium. Senior right-hander Nick Johnson (Delphos, Ohio/St. John's) will take the mound for the Bearcats.