Brian Cleary's Bearcats have won eight of their last nine games.
March 14, 2012
Michigan State Game Notes
MICHIGAN STATE at CINCINNATI
WEEKEND PITCHING MATCHUPS - (2012 Stats)
FRIDAY, MARCH 16 | 4 p.m. | Watch Live | GameTracker
UC RHP Christian McElroy 6-4/211 R-So. 1.64 ERA 1-0 W-L 11.0 IP 6 BB 13 SO
MSU RHP Tony Bucciferro 6-3/200 Sr. 4.74 ERA 2-1 W-L 24.2IP 3 BB 18 SO
SATURDAY, MARCH 17 | 4 p.m. | Watch Live | GameTracker
UC LHP Zach Morris 6-6/225 Fr. 2.93 ERA 1-1W-L 15.1 IP 3 BB 12 SO
MSU RHP Andrew Waszak 6-1/205 Jr. 1.01 ERA 1-1 W-L 26.2 IP 7 BB 15 SO
SUNDAY, MARCH 18 | 1 p.m. | Watch Live | GameTracker
MSU RHP Mike Theodore 6-2/215 R-So. 0.89 ERA 0-1 W-L 20.1 IP 7 BB 10 SO
Winners in eight of its past nine ballgames, the University of Cincinnati baseball team (8-6) concludes a 10-game homestand with a three-game series vs. 2011 Big Ten Conference co-champion Michigan State University (7-7) Friday through Sunday at Marge Schott Stadium. Game 1 of the series begins 4 p.m. Friday and will feature UC redshirt sophomore right-hander Christian McElroy. Saturday's game is set for a 4 p.m. first pitch with freshman lefty Zach Morris slated to make his third collegiate start after being named to the BIG EAST Conference Honor Roll for his performance last week vs. Chicago State. The series finale begins 1 p.m. Sunday, with UC's starting pitcher TBA. All three games can be seen live on GoBEARCATS.com/allaccess. Sunday's contest will be aired live on Real Talk 1160 (WQRT-AM) in the Cincinnati market.
SETTING THE SCENE
-Cincinnati has won eight of its last nine baseball games and is coming off a four-game sweep over Chicago State University that saw UC outscore the Cougars 39-9.
-In the series opener, senior catcher Jake Saylor hit his first homer of the season, Thomas Gentile pitched six scoreless innings of relief and the Bearcats won 9-2.
-Saturday's doubleheader saw the Bearcats win 6-0 and 20-4. In Game 1, Zach Morris pitched six scoreless innings and struck out a career high nine Cougars. In the second game, freshman third baseman Joey Bielek went 4 for 5 with four RBIs, senior catcher Braden Kline drove in five runs and sophomore outfielder Ronald Cotton hit a grand-slam homer as the Bearcats outslugged CSU 20-4.
-UC held onto win a 4-3 decision over Chicago State in the series finale. Bielek, sophomore right fielder Justin Glass and senior first baseman Nic Spence each went 2 for 4, while senior designated hitter Jake Saylor added two RBIs. The Bearcats built a 4-1 lead after scoring three times in the fifth inning, but allowed runs in the sixth and seven before closer Zach Isler recorded the last four outs of the game to earn his third save of the year.
ON THE MOUND FOR THE BEARCATS
-Redshirt sophomore RHP Christian McElroy will take the ball for the Bearcats on Friday. In his last start on March 4 against Oakland, McElroy earned struck out seven batters and allowed just two runs in 4.2 innings pitched. On the season, McElroy has a 1.64 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched for a 10.64 Ks/9 ratio.
-Freshman left-hander Zach Morris will take the mound in Saturday ballgame. Morris will be making his third career start after pitching in two previous games out of the bullpen. Morris is coming off a BIG EAST Honor Roll recognition after pitching six scoreless innings with a career-high nine strikeouts Saturday against Chicago State. Morris currently ranks 10th in the BIG EAST in ERA (2.93).
-Sunday's starter for the Bearcats is to be announced.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
-The Big Ten Conference coaches selected Michigan State as the favorite to win the league in 2012. The Spartans return 26 letterwinners from their 2011 squad that won a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 1979 after going 36-21 overall and 15-9 in league play.
-The Spartans are 7-7 on the 2012 season. After opening the year with a 1-2 showing in the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, Michigan State went 3-1 vs. Miami (Ohio) and Furman in Greenville, S.C., before getting swept in a three-game series at Texas A&M. The Spartans then went onto win at Baylor and then vs. Xavier and Seton Hall before dropping its last game, a 3-1 setback to Pittsburgh on Sunday in Port Charlotte, Fla.
-Michigan State leads the Big Ten with a 3.13 ERA and ranks seventh out of 11 teams with a .267 batting average.
-Redshirt sophomore RHP Mike Theodore, who is expected to pitch Sunday, ranks second in the Big Ten with a 0.89 ERA. MSU's Saturday starter, junior RHP Andrew Waszak, ranks third with 1.01 ERA.
-UC baseball head coach Brian Cleary earned career win No. 400 after the Bearcats defeated Chicago State 6-0 in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.
-Heading into the Michigan State series, Cleary has 402 career wins, which are two away from tying UC hall-of-famer Glenn Sample's all-time UC mark of 404 career victories.
-Sample coached the Bearcats baseball team for 21 seasons from 1961-1981.
MORRIS NAMED TO BIG EAST HONOR ROLL
-Freshman left-handed pitcher Zach Morris was named to the BIG EAST Conference Baseball Honor Roll on Monday after he pitched six shutout innings, struck out a career-high nine batters and allowed just four hits against Chicago State last Saturday.
-The nine strikeouts ties Morris with junior LHP Thomas Gentile (Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales), who punched out nine at Wake Forest University on Feb. 25, for the single-game team lead in '12.
-Morris currently ranks 10th in the BIG EAST with a 2.93 ERA.
-In 15.1 innings pitched, Morris has struck out 12 (7.2 Ks/9 IP) while limiting opponents to a .259 batting average.
-A Bearcat has now been named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll two weeks in a row. Freshman third baseman Joey Bielek was named to the conference honor roll on March 6 after hitting.438 (7 for 16) with four RBIs in four games against Oakland University.
SHOWING THE GLOVE
-Cincinnati ranks first in the BIG EAST Conference with a .974 fielding percentage as a team.
-UC's 14 fielding errors are the fewest for any team in the BIG EAST.
-The Bearcats are tied for first in the conference for fewest stolen bases allowed (nine) and most runners caught stealing (10).
-Senior catcher Jake Saylor is tied for first in the conference with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 101 chances, the nine-most in the league.
-Saylor has thrown out seven base runners this season, which ranks first in the BIG EAST.