May 26, 2010
CLEARWATER, Fla. – In its opening game of the 2010 BIG EAST Baseball Championships, the University of Cincinnati baseball team took a three-run lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the No. 19 University of Connecticut Huskies rallied to score six runs in its final three sets of at-bats to defeat Cincinnati, 9-6, Wednesday afternoon at Bright House Field.
Leading by two runs in the fifth inning, the turning point came in the sixth inning when the Bearcats had the bases loaded with nobody out, but only managed to score one run and grounded into a double play to end the threat. In the bottom half of the sixth inning, UConn used a Bearcats error and a two-RBI bloop single by George Springer to knot the score at six, before scoring two runs in the seventh inning and one run in the eighth inning to take the 9-6 win.
The Huskies jumped out to an early lead when lead-off hitter Pierre LePage tripled to start the game, before scoring during the next at-bat on a sacrifice fly from Nick Ahmed.
Cincinnati responded immediately in the second inning and it started with junior Justin Riddell, who deposited the first pitch of his lead-off at-bat over the wall in right-center field, his eighth home run of the season. Following a fly out and a ground out, freshman Jake Proctor and sophomore Kiley Jones each drew four-pitch walks to put runners on first and second base with two outs. The Bearcats capitalized on the free passes when senior Jamel Scott singled to left field, plating Proctor and giving UC its first lead of the day, 2-1.
UConn added runs in the second and third innings to re-take a one-run lead, 3-2, but the Bearcats continued to stay close with a run in the fourth inning on a RBI double from Scott, before opening its biggest lead of the game in its next two sets of at-bats.
Sophomore T.J. Jones opened the fifth inning with a lead-off home run to right field, placing UC back in front, 4-3, and later in the frame, a two-out RBI single to left field by senior Kevin Johnson opened up a 5-3 lead. After freshman Andrew Strenge retired the Huskies in order in the bottom of the fifth, Cincinnati loaded the bases with nobody out, but scored just one run en route to widening its lead to 6-3 through five and a half innings.
From that point, a Cincinnati error during the first at-bat in the bottom of the sixth inning led to UConn scoring three unearned runs, before the Huskies overtook the lead for good with two runs in the seventh inning and another run in the eighth inning.
Kevin Vance came in the ball game in the ninth inning and retired the Bearcats in order to send Connecticut to the 9-6 win.
Scott and Riddell both finished with two hits apiece to lead the team, and Scott led the team with two RBI. Strenge received the no decision after going 5.0 innings, yielding seven hits and three runs, while walking four and striking out two batters.
With the loss, Cincinnati dropped to 29-28 overall and UC will play No. 3 seed Pittsburgh at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 27, in an elimination game.