'Hawks blow seven run lead to UC
The Miami University men's baseball team (10-16) was unable to withstand an 8-0 rally by the University of Cincinnati (10-16), falling to the Bearcats 8-7 at Marge Schott Stadium.
Cincinnati's sophomore Ian Happ hit a walk-off two-run homer to right in the bottom of the ninth off of Miami's freshman reliever Brad Schwartz to seal the game.
The loss was the RedHawks' sixth in a row.
"This is a tough one tonight," Zubrod said. "Our bats were hot early and we were getting through the lineup well."
The RedHawks got off to a fast start against Cincinatti's junior right-hander Grant Walker, putting their first four batters of the game on base. After consecutive singles by freshman infielder Steve Sada and Dan Walsh, senior catcher John Crummy slapped a single to score Sada and put the 'Hawks on the board. Sophomore outfielder Gary Russo's liner off the glove of Bearcat centerfielder Happ plated two more runs, giving the 'Hawks a 3-0 lead after the first frame.
Miami added two more runs in the third inning when junior outfielder Matt Honchel singled to left, putting MU up 5-0. The RedHawks tacked on two more runs in the fifth on a combination of hustle and poor defense on the part of the Bearcats. After Russo beat out an infield single and stole second base, junior infielder Ryan Elble drove him home on a single to right field. Elble advanced to second on a throwing error and scored after a double by Honchel.
Honchel finished 2-4 with a double and three RBI.
Walker gave up seven runs (four earned) in 6.1 innings of work for the Bearcats. He walked two and struck out three.
It was after the fifth inning that things began to unravel for the 'Hawks.
Senior right-handed pitcher Charles Zubrod was cruising for Miami through five, at one point retiring eight Bearcats in a row, but he hit a wall in the sixth. Zubrod walked sophomore infielder Colin Hawk to open the frame and surrendered a single to freshman pinch hitter Rob Blissitt, Jr. Senior outfielder Justin Glass singled up the middle to score Hawk, and then Zubrod plunked Happ to load the bases. After throwing a wild pitch, which scored Blissitt, Jr. and walking another Bearcat, Zubrod was pulled in favor of junior righty reliever Charlie Suich, the RedHawks still leading 7-2.
Zubrod went 5.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits. He walked three and struck out three.
Another wild pitch scored Glass to pull the Bearcats closer 7-3. Cincinnati scored again after Schwartz walked freshman infielder Jake Richmond and hit freshman infielder Connor McVey. A Miami throwing error with the bases loaded meant that the Bearcats were down only one run, 7-6.
Both teams went scoreless until Happ's heroics in the bottom of the ninth ensured the victory for Cincinnati.
"One big inning and it's a whole new game," Zubrod said. "Credit Happ at the end, he put a great swing on that curveball."
Schwartz (1-4) picked up the loss for the RedHawks, giving up two earned runs in 2.1 innings. Freshman right-hander Austin Woodby earned the win for the Bearcats, allowing no runs in 2.2 innings of relief.
The RedHawks now start a five-game homestand, starting with a three-game series against the University of Akron (13-12). Akron is 5-1 in Mid-American Conference play, compared to Miami's 2-4 record.
First pitch for Friday's game is scheduled 6 p.m., Saturday's game is set for 3 p.m. and Sunday's for 1 p.m. All games will be played at McKie Field at Hayden Park. Fans can listen to the game live on redhawkradio.com.
Additional reporting by Charlie Clifford.
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