Baseball opened AAC championship with UCF Tuesday

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CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati baseball team returns for the 2021 American Athletic Conference Championship at the BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, Florida.

The seeded Bearcats No. 4 will open on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 9 a.m.CET with UCF No. 5 and will be the defending champions of the tournament after taking home the 2019 trophy.

All AAC championship games will be broadcast on ESPN +, and Sunday’s championship final will be broadcast on ESPNews.


The teams split their season series 2-2, with UCF having a 13-8 advantage in the overall book. On Tuesday they meet for the third time in the AAC championship with an evenly-balanced 1-1.


The double-elimination-modified College World Series format with eight teams. The teams that emerge from each group will play a single-elimination championship game on Sunday, May 30th.

Group A: = seeds No. 1, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 8 • Group B: seeds No. 2, No. 3, No. 6 and No. 7

Tuesday, May 25th | ESPN +
Game 1: No. 5 UCF versus No. 4 Cincinnati | 9 am
ESPN + | Live statistics

Visit AAC Baseball Championship Central for more information.


  • UC is 29-24 and ended the regular season with a 4-game game against Tulane at UC Baseball Stadium.
  • As a team, UC encounters a .284 clip in 30 games with an AAC-leading 95 double and double-digit hit.
  • On the hill, UC has a team ERA of 5.56 with 424 spikes over 253 hikes.


  • UC hit coach Kyle Sprague was with UCF from 2014 to 2015, working with the outfielders and coaching first base when the Knights rose to No. 6 in the nation in 2015.
  • UCF head coach Greg Lovelady was with Wright State from 2005 to 2016, serving as assistant (2005 to 2006), deputy head coach (2007-13), and head coach (2014-16).
  • UCF Assistant Ted Tom was at UC from 2015 to 17 and served as UC’s Director of Operations (2015), assistant coach (2016 to 17) and interim head coach at the end of 2017.
  • UCF pitching coach Nick Otte spent nine seasons with Xavier from 2010-18 and served eight of his nine seasons across town for UC head coach Scott Googins’ staff.


  • UC honored its senior class ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the pirates, including Joey Bellini, Dondrae Bremner, Jake Hansen, Tanner Holen, Dean McCarthy, Jace Mercer, Jake Meyer, Nate Moore, Jake Murray, Eric Santiago, Garrett Schönle and Wyatt Stapp, Jalen Wade and the student managers Michael DeLong and Jake Swearingen.


  • Cole Harting was named AAC Player of the Week, while pitcher Evan Shawver was named Honor Roll at UC Baseball Stadium.
  • Harting hit .556, hitting 1,167 for the week, scoring 10 hits and scoring eight runs with three doubles, two home runs, a triple and a pair of stolen bases.
  • Shawver won 11-1 seven innings against the Green Wave on Friday. He threw 90 pitches in a six-inning outing, hit eight, and gave up a run with two hits. He notched career K 150 during the game and moved to 3-1 of the year.


  • Five UC baseball student-athletes received All-AAC awards when the league announced its postseason awards ahead of the AAC tournament in Clearwater, Florida.
  • Outfielder Paul Komistek and pitcher Garrett Schoenle were recognized for the first team award, while shortstop Joey Bellini, second baseman Jace Mercer and batsman designate Griffin Merritt were recognized for the second team award.
  • UC’s five winners are the most since joining the AAC in 2014. Cincinnati finished the regular season 29-24, 18-14 in the AAC game, giving their Bearcats an over 500-year result for the first time since 2011 Regular season play.
  • Bellini started 51 games at Shortstop and worked with Mercer to help UC lead the AAC with doubles. Bellini fought .311 in AAC games and ended up with 66 hits, including 11 doubles, one triple and three home runs.
  • Komistek led the team with a batting average of 0.353, including 54 hits, 10 doubles, seven home runs, 21 walks and 39 RBIs. He buckled up five of his homers in league play and scored 28 runs.
  • Mercer scored .352 in the year and .391 in the AAC game. Its 22 stolen bases were the most on the team. He led the team in slugging percentage (.563), total bases (112), hits (70) and for team leadership in walks (26). He also teamed up with Bellini to help UC lead the American in doubles (49).
  • Merritt was responsible for leading the team with 10 home runs, averaging .278 with 50 hits, including 10 doubles and two triples. He went 22 times and stole five bases.
  • Schönle finished the regular season 6: 3 with a earned run average of 3.97. He was named AAC Pitcher of the Week on April 26th and received the AAC Honor Roll three times. He made 14 starts and threw 70.1 innings with 82 strikeouts over 22 walks. On May 7th, he threw his first full career game in Houston.


  • Jace Mercer has 61 stolen career bases and is fifth of all time with Troy Muckerheide (1992-95). It takes him two to win Josh Harrison (2006-08) for fourth and eight for Connor McVey (2014-18) for third (69). Mercer also needs four hits for 200 in his career and an RBI for 100.
  • Eric Santiago has 218 hits and needs 2 to finish 10th all time with 220 hits. He also needs six doubles for 50 which would put him in ninth place all-time. 46 is 10 ..
  • Wyatt Stapp is seven hits out of 150 and 20 RBIs out of 100.


  • The Cincinnati infield has scored the AAC’s best 49 doubles this season, trailing Arizona State (52) and Auburn (50) nationwide. UC is second in the AAC in the field percentage at 0.978.


  • UC leads the American in both hits (524) and doubles (95).


  • The Bearcats have completed 63 home races so far in 2021, third in the USA behind ECU (66) and UCF (65).
  • Cole Harting and Griffin Merritt both hit 10 while Jace Mercer got nine and Paul Komistek and Eric Santiago got seven.
  • Merritt has beaten eight of his ten homers against AAC opponents.
  • UC is 16-4 in 20 games this season if two or more home runs are hit and 21-10 if one home run is hit in one game.
  • UC has seven players with five or more homers this season.


  • Ryan Nicholson got off a slow start and got his .343 hit in the AAC game. His 26 walks are linked to Jace Mercer for the UC leadership.


  • LHP Dean McCarthy has completed an interim period as a starter and reliever this season and played 17 games in 2021.
  • Elon’s graduate transfer made seven starts to open the campaign, but his last nine trips have been off the bullpen.
  • He has thrown 60 innings and went 4-3 with three saves.


  • Senior 3B Eric Santiago has played 225 games for the Bearcats, covering every field position and designated batsman.
  • He threw himself in one fell swoop in the last game of the Tulane series and accompanied him on four fields, his first trip to the hill.
  • He made the most appearances on the third base and participated in a total of 125 in the AAC tournament.
  • The position in which he has performed the least? Catcher, with only the ninth inning against UCF at UCBS on May 12, 2017.
  • His 225 career games are in fifth place of all time at UC.


  • UC had a GPA of 3.359 in Spring 2021 with nine TOP CATS (4.0 GPA), 24 on the Dean’s List (3.4+) and 33 on the Bearcats Honor Roll.


For the latest information on Cincinnati Baseball, visit For the latest updates, follow UC Baseball (@GoBearcatsBase) and Coach Googins (@CoachGoogs) on Twitter. You can also find the Bearcats on Instagram and Facebook.

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