Feb. 20, 2009
This is the fifth in a five-part installment previewing the 2009 University of Cincinnati baseball season. UC opens its 2009 campaign on Friday, Feb. 20, at the inaugural BIG EAST/Big Ten Baseball Challenge. The Bearcats play Purdue University at 1 p.m. at the Raymond A. Naimoli Complex in St. Petersburg, Fla.
While the departure of No. 1 starter, Dan Osterbrock, leaves a void in the starting rotation, an experienced group of hurlers return to the mound this season, led by preseason all-BIG EAST selection Michael Hill, and Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List honoree, Jake Geglein, both seniors.
Hill made 15 appearances last season, including 12 starts, and finished with a 6-4 record. Hill threw 80.2 innings, including three complete games, and owned a 3.46 ERA, the best among all UC starters. Hill moves up a slot in the rotation and is tabbed as the Friday starter.
Geglein, who was selected as team captain for the 2009 season by his teammates, was the anchor out of the bullpen a season ago recording nine saves, which tied for second on the UC single-season saves list. Geglein also made 26 appearances, tying for ninth on the single-season appearances chart. He finished with a 2.30 ERA in 43.0 innings, and struck out 36 batters while only giving up seven walks.
Junior southpaw Brian Garman will step into the No. 2 starter role after posting a 5-3 record in 2008 in 15 appearances. In his final five starts of the season, Garman posted a 3-1 record, a 2.43 ERA, and struck out 20 batters in 29.2 innings of work.
Fighting for the No. 3 starter role is six pitchers, who all are likely to get the nod at some point throughout the season. The battle for the Sunday starter slot will be between junior college transfers Andrew Burkett and Dan Glozer, and returnees Nick Johnson, Brian Sand, Sam Slavik, and Tyler Smith.
Smith earned valuable experience making 12 starts and logging 52.2 innings of work last season. He struck out 50 batters, which ranked third on the team, and finished with a 4.27 ERA. Johnson and Sand threw 46.2 and 21.0 innings, respectively, providing Cleary a plethora of options to put on the hill.
Burkett and Glozer have impressed in the fall campaign and should make a splash in 2009. Burkett has a live arm and is expected to contribute a lot of innings.
Joining Geglein out of the bullpen is junior Dan Jensen, senior Billy Welsh, and redshirt freshman Jack Warnecke. Jensen is a junior college transfer from Sinclair College who brings great size, tools, and ability out of the pen. Welsh is a fifth-year senior who was successful in a specialized role last season. Welsh owned a 2.08 ERA and held opponents to a .190 batting average in 17.1 innings of work. Warnecke is a deceptive lefty who can give UC valuable innings.