April 16, 2012
UC at UK game notes
CINCINNATI at No. 2 KENTUCKY
TUESDAY, APRIL 17 | 6:30 p.m. | Watch (Subscription Required) | GameTracker
Probable Starting Pitchers
UC LHP Brad Mergen 6-3/213 Sr. 10.29 ERA 0-2 W-L 14.0 IP 3 BB 7 SO
UK LHP Sam Mahar 6-1/195 Fr. 2.21 ERA 2-1 W-L 20.1 IP 7 BB 22 SO
The University of Cincinnati baseball team (12-23, 2-10 BIG EAST) takes a break from conference action when it plays the No. 2-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (32-5, 11-4 SEC) 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Senior left-handed pitcher Brad Mergen will climb the hill for the Bearcats. Mergen is coming off his best outing of the season against Xavier last Wednesday. In his first start since March 18, the 6-foot-3 southpaw allowed just three runs, only one of which was earned, and scattered 10 hits in a season-best 5 2-3 innings pitched. Kentucky's starting pitcher will be freshman lefty Sam Mahar, who will be making his first collegiate start. The Cincinnati-UK ballgame will be streamed live at UKAthletics.com/allaccess (subscription required).
SETTING THE SCENE
-Cincinnati has work to do to get back in the BIG EAST race after starting league play 2-10. The Bearcats will have to start compiling wins if they are to finish in the top eight of the conference standings and qualify for the BIG EAST Championship for the fifth consecutive season. Georgetown is currently in eighth place in the conference with a 5-7 record in league play, three games ahead of UC in the win column with 15 BIG EAST games left to play.
-UC suffered two closely-played games at Notre Dame, before dominating the third game of the series this past weekend.
-Notre Dame lead 8-1 through three innings before Cincinnati twice came within one run, at 8-7 and 10-9; however, UC was unable to complete the comeback in Game 1 of the series.
-In Game 2, with UC (11-23, 1-10 BIG EAST) clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, the first two UND batters reached to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a strikeout, UND hit consecutive singles to walk-off with a 6-5 win.
-UC salvaged the series by topping UND 6-2 Sunday. Christian McElroy kept the UND batsmen at bay most of the game after he allowed just one run on three hits while striking out four in a career-high seven innings pitched. Eight of nine Bearcats in the UC lineup produced at least one base hit, including a career-high-tying three hits from senior catcher Jake Saylor. Senior designated hitter T.J. Jones continued his torrid series against the Fighting Irish, going 2 for 4 with three RBIs and his team-leading fourth home run.
-Prior to the UND series, UC had a tough showing at the 2012 Joe Nuxhall Classic that saw the Bearcats drop two close games; 3-2 to Wright State in the opening round and 4-2 against Xavier in the third-place game.
-After winning three of five ballgames, including wins over intra-state rivals Dayton and Ohio, the Bearcats fell to 1-8 in BIG EAST play after getting swept by USF in a three-game series.
-Head coach Brian Cleary earned his 405th career win after UC topped Ohio 11-2 on April 3. The 405 wins surpassed UC hall-of-famer and longtime Cincinnati Reds scorekeeper Glenn Sample's program standard of 404 career victories, which Sample accrued from 1961-1981.
ON THE MOUND FOR THE BEARCATS
-Senior left-handed pitcher Brad Mergen will climb the hill for the Bearcats on Tuesday at Kentucky. Mergen is coming off his best outing of the season against Xavier last Wednesday. In his first start since March 18, the 6-foot-3 southpaw allowed just three runs, only one of which was earned, and scattered 10 hits in a season-best 5 2-3 innings pitched.
CLEARY ATOP UC'S ALL-TIME WINS MARK
-Bearcats baseball head coach Brian Cleary earned career win No. 405 after UC defeated Ohio 11-2 April 3.
-With 405 career wins, Cleary surpassed UC hall-of-famer and longtime Cincinnati Reds official scorekeeper Glenn Sample, who from 1961-1981 recorded 404 career wins, 13 of which occurred during the autumn season.
-The career milestone is the second Cleary has achieved this year after he earned career win No. 400 when the Bearcats defeated Chicago State 6-0 in the first game of a March 10th doubleheader.
McELROY EARNS BIG EAST HONORS
- Redshirt sophomore Christian McElroy (Middletown, Ohio/Monroe/Sinclair CC) was named to the BIG EAST Conference weekly baseball honor roll on Monday, marking the third straight week a Bearcat has received the distinction.
-McElroy, a 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher, combined for eight strikeouts and threw 11 1-3 innings without allowing an earned run in two games last week, including a career-high seven innings in Sunday's 6-2 win at Notre Dame. McElroy also pitched 4 1-3 innings of relief against Wright State Tuesday at the Joe Nuxhall Classic in Oxford, Ohio.
-UC now has five players that have been named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll in 2012, including one in the past three weeks. In addition to McElroy, the previous recipients of the award this season were Joey Bielek (March 6), Zach Morris (March 12), Justin Glass (April 2) and Ryan Atkinson (April 9).
FRESHMEN HURLERS CARRY THE LOAD
-Cincinnati has received a ton of production from its freshman pitching class in 2012, as the group has accounted for 58 percent of the team's wins, 46 percent of the team's starts, 44 percent of innings pitched and 36 percent of the team's strikeouts.
-Freshmen have started the past nine of the past 13 games for the Bearcats heading into the UK game.
-Freshmen Ryan Atkinson (April 9) and Zach Morris (April 2) have been named to the BIG EAST Conference weekly honor roll in the last month.
BEARCATS OFFENSE EXPLODES VS. IRISH
-Senior designated hitter T.J. Jones had a big weekend against Notre Dame, batting .333 (4 for 12) with eight RBIs and two home runs in three games. Jones' four home runs leads the team.
-Freshman third baseman Joey Bielek hit .614 (8 for 13) with four runs scored and two RBIs in the three-game series at Notre Dame.
-Senior catcher Jake Saylor tied his career high with three hits against the Fighting Irish in UC's 6-2 win on Sunday.
-Redshirt freshman outfielder Ethan McAlpine clubbed his first career home run against UND on Saturday.
ATKINSON EARNS UC'S FOURTH BIG EAST HONOR ROLL
-Freshman right-handed pitcher Ryan Atkinson was named to the BIG EAST Conference weekly honor roll on Monday for his performance at Ohio University last Tuesday.
-Atkinson pitched a gem against the Ohio Bobcats in his first collegiate start, throwing seven scoreless innings, striking out 11 batters and allowing just three hits. The 11 strikeouts were the most by a Bearcats pitcher since April 30, 2010 when Nick Johnson punched out 11 against West Virginia University.
-Atkinson is the fourth Bearcat to be named to the BIG EAST Honor Roll in 2012 and the second in as many weeks. Sophomore outfielder Justin Glass (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) received the distinction April 2, freshman left-hander Zach Morris (Edgewater, Md./DeMatha Catholic) earned the honor March 12 and freshman third baseman Joey Bielek (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chapparal) won the award March 6.
MORRIS LIGHTS OUT
-From March 23 through April 14, freshman left-hander Zach Morris went 18 2-3 innings without allowing an earned run.
-Against Notre Dame on Saturday, Morris allowed three runs on five hits in 5 1-3 innings pitched.
-In his previous start against USF, Morris allowed one unearned run on three hits in seven innings.
-Against Pitt on March 9, Morris threw eight shutout innings.
-Morris last surrendered an earned run with two outs in the third inning at No. 21 Louisville on March 24.
GLASS NAMED TO BIG EAST HONOR ROLL
-Sophomore right fielder Justin Glass was named to the weekly BIG EAST Conference honor roll on Monday for his performance March 28-April 1.
-Glass recorded a .500 batting average (8 for 16) with one home run and nine RBIs, while slugging .688 and reaching base at a .524 clip in four ballgames against Dayton and Pittsburgh.
-On March 28 at Dayton, Glass produced a career-high five RBIs and scored twice after hitting 5 for 6, including his first longball of the season. The five hits were also a career-best for Glass.
A CAREER DAY IN DAYTON
-Several Bearcats recorded multiple career highs during the Bearcats' 17-8 shellacking of Dayton on Wednesday.
-Sophomores Justin Glass and Matt Williams each produced five RBIs, which are new career highs for both.
-Glass (7) and Williams (6) also set career highs in total bases while Glass and tied his career best in at-bats (6).
-Senior outfielder Braden Kline scored four runs against the Flyers to set a new personal best.
-Junior center fielder Jake Proctor tied his career best with two doubles and set a new career standard for at-bats with seven.
-Sophomore infielder Ryan Quinn scored twice for a career high and tied his career best in hits with two.
-Senior first baseman Nic Spence's six at-bats were a career high for the Australian.
GLASS & BIELEK GO STREAKING
-Freshman third baseman Joey Bielek (13 games) and sophomore right fielder Justin Glass (12 games) have the two highest hitting streaks for the Bearcats in 2012.
-Glass saw his streak, which began during the second game of a doubleheader against Oakland, come to end against Louisville on March 24. During the streak, Glass batted .408 (20 of 49) with six RBIs, 12 runs scored and a .491 on-base percentage.
-Freshman third baseman Joey Bielek saw his 13-game hitting streak that began Feb. 26 vs. UMBC at the Wake Forest Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C. come to end Wednesday against No. 2 Kentucky after he recorded an 0-for-4 day.
-During the streak, Bielek hit .415 (22 of 53) with 13 RBIs and .429 on-base and .547 slugging percentages.
-Twice during the streak, Bielek recorded a 4-for-5 game: Game 1 of a March 3 doubleheader vs. Oakland; and the second game of a doubleheader on March 10 vs. Chicago State.