HOUSTON - The University of Cincinnati baseball team needed extra innings but earned an 8-6 comeback win in 10 innings in an American Athletic Conference series opener on Thursday at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park.
Cincinnati (28-26, 10-12 American) moved to 5-1 in extra-inning games this season and knocked off Houston (34-19, 13-9 American) who entered the game tied for first place in the conference.
The Bearcats got RBI hits from R.J. Thompson (Mason, Ohio/Mason), Ryan Noda (Volo, Ill./Grant) and Connor McVey (Mason, Ohio/Mason) in the 10th inning to take an 8-5 lead and fought off UH's rally in the bottom of the frame to get the road win.
David Orndorff (Pasadena, Calif./Pasadena Polytechnic) picked up his fifth win of the season after pitching out of jams in the ninth and 10th innings. He came into the game with two strikes on John Grimsley in the ninth with the winning run on second base. The junior fanned Grimsley for the second out of the frame and induced a groundout to McVey to send it to extra innings.
UC trailed 3-0 after the first inning, came back to tie things at four runs apiece in the fifth but fell behind 5-4 before a leadoff home run by A.J. Bumpass (Rougemont, N.C./Northern) in the sixth knotted things up at 6-6 and set up the extra-innings finish. Bumpass added his team-leading 15th double of the season in the game and scored twice.
J.T. Perez (Orrville, Ohio/Orrville) put together a strong relief outing, giving up two hits and striking out five in 3.2 innings of work. He came in the game with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth got a swinging strikeout to end the frame. Andrew Zellner (Farmersville, Ohio/Valley View) started and went 4.2 innings, giving up five runs on six hits with four walks and a strikeout.
· UC won its first game in Houston since April 20, 2002, also
· UC 4-1 in extra-inning games in 2017.
· The Bearcats stole a season-high seven bases.
· UC stranded 11 on the night, leaving men on second and third with two outs in the seventh and the bases loaded in the eighth.
· Thompson, who has a six-game hitting streak going, finished 3-for-5 with
· McVey has reached base in 20-consecutive games and was 2-for-6 with a pair of runs driven in and a stolen base.
· Jace Mercer (Johns Creek, Ga./Johns Creek) was 1-of-4 with two walks, a pair of stolen bases and a run scored.
· Zellner made the final regular-season start of his career and after tonight’s appearance, the right-hander ranks second in the UC record book in starts (47) and innings pitched (291.1) while ranking ninth in strikeouts (187) and ninth in career wins (16).
// KEY INNINGS
Bottom of the First
Houston wasted no time taking the lead on a leadoff home run by Connor Wong and followed that with two hits, two
Top of the Second
Mercer led off with a single and stole second. Bumpass hit a one-out double to right center to score Mercer. After a ground out, Eric Santiago (Bethlehem, Pa./Notre Dame Green Pond) singled to score Bumpass but the freshman got caught in a rundown between first and second to end the innings, but UC trailed by one, 3-2.
Top of the Fifth
After Houston added a run to its lead in the fourth, the Bearcats again answered, scoring two runs in the fifth to tie the game at 4-4. Junior catcher Joey Thomas (Mason, Ohio/Mason) drew a walk to open the frame and moved to second on a wild pitch. Back-to-back groundouts by Santiago and freshman Luke Turino (Toronto, Ontario/Birchmount Park Collegiate Institute) brought Thomas home to cut the UH lead to one. With two outs, Thompson singled, moved to second on a failed pickoff and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a walk to Noda, McVey reached on a checked-swing single to score Thompson and tie the game.
Bottom of the Fifth
Houston re-took the lead in the fifth. Julks was hit by a pitch with one out and Slaughter hit a two-out single through the right side to move
Top of the Sixth
Bumpass needed just one pitch in the sixth inning to tie the game, sending a ball over the right-field fence for his sixth home run of the season.
Top of the 10th
Thomas hit a one-out single up the middle. Santiago reached on a fielder’s choice, which saw Thomas thrown out at second. Santiago stole second and Jordan Ramey (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller) walked. Thompson singled under the shortstop’s glove and scored Santiago to give UC its first lead of the ballgame at 6-5. Noda hit a bloop double into left field that scored Ramey and moved Thompson to third to make things 7-5. McVey surprised the UH defense with a bunt RBI single between the pitcher’s mound and first to score Thompson and move Noda to third. McVey stole second, but Mercer flew out to left and UC led 8-5.
// UP NEXT
The three-game set against the Cougars continues Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET and concludes Saturday at 2 p.m. Sophomore A.J. Kullman (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) will take the mound Friday for UC while sophomore Trey Cumbie is scheduled to pitch for the Cougars.
// HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Live video and audio coverage of all three games in the Houston series is available on GoBEARCATS.com. Matt Noonan (play-by-play) will call the action.
// FOLLOW THE BEARCATS
For all the latest information on Cincinnati baseball, please visit GoBEARCATS.com. For up to the minute updates, follow Cincinnati baseball (@GoBearcatsBASE) and Coach Neal (@Ty_Neal_UC) on twitter. You can also find the Bearcats on Facebook.
// TICKET INFORMATION
Single-game tickets are just $5 for adults, $3 for youth and seniors, and $1 for groups of 20 or more. For tickets, call 1-877-CATS-TIX or visit GoBEARCATS.com/tickets.