May 13, 2010
The University of Cincinnati baseball team heads into the final two weeks of the regular season in seventh place in the BIG EAST Conference and the Bearcats look to improve their position in the conference when they open a six-game homestand on Friday, May 14, against No. 22 Pittsburgh. The Panthers come to Marge Schott Stadium with a 34-13 overall record and a 15-5 league record and sit one game behind No. 19 UConn for first place. The series opens on Friday at 6:30 p.m., while Saturday’s game and Sunday’s game will be contested at 4 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
· Pitt sits at No. 22 in the latest Collegiate Baseball rankings and No. 24 in the Baseball America poll.
· The Panthers are 34-12 overall and 15-5 in the BIG EAST Conference. PITT sits in third place in the league, one game behind conference leader, No. 19 UConn.
· Joe Leonard leads the squad with a .450 average entering the weekend and last week, Leonard broke the Panthers single-season school record for hits and has 90 base knocks on the season. Leonard began the week ranked fourth in the nation in batting average.
· As a team, the Panthers came into the week as the top hitting team in the country with a .370 average and their 10.0 runs per game ranked third nationally.
· Friday night starter Corey Baker is 10-2 on the season and his 10 wins rank second nationally.
· As a pitching staff, the Panthers have a team ERA of 5.99.
· Pittsburgh’s .370 batting average entering the week was tops in the BIG EAST Conference, and they will be facing off against a UC pitching staff that owns the third-best ERA in the conference at 4.10.
· On the other end, Pittsburgh’s pitching staff ranks in thru lower half of the BIG EAST, while UC’s team average of .246 is 12th.
· Pittsburgh ranks third in the league in stolen bases with 86. They will go against UC senior Jimmy Jacquot, who has thrown out 21 runners, ranking second in the BIG EAST.
THE DECIDING NUMBER
· Despite its offensive struggles this season, the Bearcats have scored five or more runs in 20 of its 45 games.
· UC is a perfect 20-0 on the season when scoring five or more runs in a game.
· Last season, Cincinnati was 26-11 when scoring more than five runs in a game.
· On the other end of the scale, the Bearcats are just 4-25 when scoring less than five runs.
· On Sunday, May 9, freshman Andrew Strenge earned his first start of his career and pitched a gem leading UC to a 3-2 win over the No. 20 Connecticut Huskies.
· Strenge yielded seven hits and gave up two unearned runs, while striking out six batters en route to a complete game.
· The win upped Strenge’s record to 5-1 on the season, making him the first UC pitcher to reach five wins this season.
· With the complete game, Strenge became the first UC freshman to toss a complete game since Dan Osterbrock tossed a complete game at Villanova on May 6, 2006.
· For his efforts, Strenge was one of 18 players to be named to CollegeBaseball360’s Primetime Performer of the Week Honor Roll on May 10.
RIDDELL CONTINUES HOT STREAK
· Prior to the opening game of the Notre Dame series on April 23, junior Justin Riddell was hitting .235 (19-of-81) in 30 games.
· Over the past 15 games, however, Riddell has been Cincinnati’s top hitter.
· The Lexington, Ky., native is hitting .400 (24-of-60) over the past 15 contests, with four home runs and 12 RBI.
· Riddell has posted 10 multi-hit games in his past 15 contests to lead the team.
· The last three conference weekends, Riddell has been even more impressive. Against Notre Dame, Riddell went 8-for-12 (.750) and drove in two runs, and stole a base.
· Riddell then followed that weekend up by hitting .417 (5-of-12) and drove in two RBI.
· Last weekend at No. 20 UConn, Riddell hit .364 (4-of-11) with two home runs and drove in three of UC’s five weekend runs.
· In the last three weekends of conference action, Riddell is 17-for-35 (.486) and he is slugging .800.
· Prior to the Notre Dame series, Riddell was hitting .067 (1-for-15) in conference play.
IN THE MIDDLE
· On the season, Cincinnati has a slow starting team offensively as it has only scored in the first inning in 14 of 50 games.
· In innings 1-3, UC has been outscored 110-59 by its opponents.
· However, in the middle innings (innings 4-6), the Bearcats have responded by outscoring its opponents 107-85. The 107 runs during that stretch accounts for 44.2 percent of UC’s run total this season.
· On May 5, Cincinnati scored 10 runs in the fifth inning to take a 13-5 lead. The 10 runs was the most runs scored in an inning since scoring 10 runs in the eighth inning against Mount St. Joseph’s in a 20-3 win on May 6, 2008.
· Last season, Cincinnati was 4-0 in extra-inning contests.
· The Bearcats have struggled in 2010 in extra-inning games as UC is 0-3 in extra innings.
· The Bearcats lost to Penn State, 5-4, in 12 innings at the Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge on Feb. 26, after UC led 4-3 entering the ninth inning.
· UC also dropped an extra-inning contest to Seton Hall, 4-3, on April 11, in addition to losing to Ohio University, 2-1, on April 20.
· The Bearcats have been outscored 4-1 in extra-innings this season.
LEADING THE CHARGE
· All season long, senior Jimmy Jacquot has ranked among the team leaders in home runs, and RBI.
· Jacquot currently leads the team with 11 home runs and 42 RBI.
· The Swansea, Ill., came through in a big way against Wright State on April 13 against Wright State, when he hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at five. UC came back later in the winning and won the game, 6-5.
· Jacquot continued his late-game heroics against West Virginia on May 1, when he hit the go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to lead UC to the come-from-behind win.
· Jacquot has not only impressed offensively, but he has been an asset behind the plate.
· Entering the weekend, runners have attempted to steal 59 times on Jacquot and he has thrown out 21 runners. The 21 runners caught stealing by Jacquot ranks second in the BIG EAST.
EXPERIENCE IN THE PEN
· Senior Brian Garman, junior Brian Sand, and senior Andrew Burkett have been spectacular out of the bullpen for Cincinnati this season.
· Garman has posted a 2.79 ERA in 10 appearances out of the bullpen and four starts, and has struck out 57 batters, while walking 14 in 51.2 innings.
· Sand owns an ERA of 3.09 and has struck out 28 and given up seven walks in 43.2 innings of work.
· Garman got the start against Villanova on March 28, and in the first four innings had at least one runner on second base with less than two outs. In each situation, Garman got out of the inning without giving up a run.
· In his third start of the season vs. West Virginia on April 30, Garman gave up seven hits and one earned run while striking out nine in a complete game win, the first complete game of his career.
· In relief, Sand shut down Ohio State on Feb. 28 and did not surrender a hit in 5.0 innings of work to pick up his first win of the season.
· Sand has pitched at least two innings in 11 of his 18 relief appearances and on the season has struck out 28, while giving up seven walks, three of which were intentional walks.
· Burkett has posted 12 saves for Cincinnati this season and has struck out 25 in 18.1 innings en route to a 3.44 ERA.
· Burkett’s 12 saves put him in a tie for fourth nationally in that category and tie with Shannon Morgan for first on UC’s single-season saves chart and is now tied for third on UC’s career saves list with 13.
NEW YEAR, NEW RESULTS
· The Cincinnati pitching staff has 10 returners from last year’s staff, giving the Bearcats an experienced group of hurlers.
· Last season, the UC pitching staff struggled with an ERA of 6.56, which ranked last in the BIG EAST.
· Through 50 games this season, the Bearcats pitching staff has been much improved as Cincinnati has an ERA of 4.10.
· Two of UC’s starters, senior Tyler Smith and junior Dan Jensen have ERA’s of 3.47 and 3.60, respectively.
· Senior Brian Garman and freshman Andrew Strenge have both pitched 30-plus innings in relief this season and own ERA’s of 2.79 and 2.27, respectively.
· Six of UC’s pitchers who have completed at least 30.0 innings of action this season have ERA’s below 4.00.
· Entering the week, UC ranked 23rd nationally in earned run average (4.14).
JOE NUXHALL CLASSIC
· In the inaugural Joe Nuxhall Classic in 2009, the Bearcats fell to Wright State and Miami (OH) in its two games in the tournament that honors the Ol’ Lefthander.
· UC opened with Wright State in the 2010 Joe Nuxhall Classic at McKie Field at Hayden Park on the campus of Miami University and trailed 5-4 entering the ninth inning.
· In the ninth, senior Jimmy Jacquot belted a one out, solo home run to left field to tie the game up, before senior Kevin Johnson followed Jacquot with a single. Senior Brian Garman pinch ran for Johnson, stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher, and then scored on a wild pitch to give UC the 6-5 come-from-behind win.
· In the championship game against Miami (OH), UC led from the get-go and senior Andrew Burkett nailed down his seventh save of the season to preserve the 3-2 win.
· UC captured its first Joe Nuxhall Classic title and improved to 2-2 all-time in the tournament.
· Junior Chris Peters was named tournament Most Valuable Player after going 4-for-9 (.444), with two RBI, and three stolen bases in the two-day event.
CLEARY HITS 350
· In his 14th season at Cincinnati, head coach Brian Cleary became just the second coach in program history to reach 350 wins for his career when UC defeated Seton Hall on Friday, April 9.
· After a win against No. 20 UConn on May 9, Cleary has accumulated 360 career wins at UC.
· Cleary’s joins legendary coach Glenn Sample as the only two baseball coaches in UC history to accumulate 350 wins.
· Sample coached the Bearcats from 1961-1981 and led UC to four of the program’s five NCAA Tournament berths and two Missouri Valley Conference championships.
· Sample finished his career as UC baseball’s all-time winningest coach with 391 wins.
FEB. 26-28 BIG TEN/BIG EAST BASEBALL CHALLENGE
· In the inaugural BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge in 2009, Cincinnati went 0-3, which included an 11-10 loss to Purdue and a 6-5 loss to Ohio State.
· The Bearcats responded in the 2010 edition of the Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge with a 2-1 record.
· Cincinnati lost a heartbreaker in its first game of the challenge to Penn State when the Nittany Lions rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie the game, before winning in the 12th inning.
· In game two, UC trailed 6-0 to Purdue heading into the ninth inning, before the Bearcats rallied for seven runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Boilermakers, 7-6.
· In the finale of the event, Cincinnati jumped in front early and never looked back as it defeated No. 13 Ohio State, 12-4.
· The win over the Buckeyes was the highest-ranked opponent the Bearcats have beaten since beating No. 11 Tulane, 12-4, on April 4, 2004.