In rather anticlimactic fashion, the Cincinnati Bearcats handed the Tennessee Volunteers their second loss of the season with a 2-1 victory on Friday night at Lindsey-Nelson Stadium.
Connor McVey started things off for the Bearcats, blasting a home run in the bottom of the first inning to put Cincinnati on the board.
Also, that home run marked just the second time this season that Tennessee’s opponent has struck first on the offensive end.
The Bearcats continued their positive play through the bottom half of the inning, as Cincinnati starter Andrew Zellner shut down the top of the Vols’ order.
Tennessee’s defense buckled down in the second inning, however and Benito Santiago avenged the Vols’ first-inning slump with a soaring homer of his own in the bottom half of the second inning.
Then, the defensive battle waged on until the fifth inning, when Jace Mercer provided just enough of a spark to give the Bearcats a game-winning push.
He started off with a single, then advanced to third base.
Finally, Mercer stole home bumping Cincinnati up one run and giving his team a lead they would not relinquish.
Tennessee’s offense gave the Bearcats plenty of help, though, too.
The Vols failed to gain enough traction to notch even a tying run, as their bats went ice-cold after Mercer’s steal.
The Bearcats didn’t do much better though, clinging to their lead just enough to pull out a win.
Despite the loss, senior Jeff Moberg posted another positive outing, as he went 2-for-4 from the plate with a single and a double.
Also, Kyle Serrano made his first appearance on the mound for UT since February of 2016. His single inning appearance aided in the Vols’ pitching staff’s 13 strikeouts on the night. Those 13 strikeouts also mark the sixth time this pitching staff has finished in double-digit strikeouts.
Hunter Martin got the nod from head coach Dave Serrano, as he started on the mound for the fourth time this season. Martin fanned six batters on 6.0 innings pitched and he was followed by Serrano, while Daniel Vasquez closed the game.
This loss moves Martin to 3-1 on the year, while Zellner, the Cincinnati starter, now sits at 1-1.
Overall, Tennessee now stands at 9-2 on the season, while the Bearcats improve to 6-6.
Both teams will continue play tomorrow in a doubleheader at Lindsey-Nelson Stadium to close the three-game series.
First pitch for Game 1 will be at noon ET, while the second game will get underway approximately 45 minutes after the ending of the first one.