CORVALLIS, Ore. – The University of Cincinnati baseball team didn’t bring home an NCAA tournament trophy, but they did more than the 45 Bearcat teams before them.
A 6-1 loss to Creighton Sunday eliminated UC from the NCAA region at Corvallis, but it didn’t detract from what the Bearcats did to win the school’s first conference title since 1967, and win the tournament for the first time since 1974 who beat defending champions Oregon State, on his home field in their NCAA opener.
“I’m really proud of this year and what we’ve achieved,” said coach Scott Googins after Sunday’s second defeat in the double elimination.
Two former UC players who made major leagues, retired Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis and current cub Ian Happ, congratulated the Bearcats on their historic season.
A damn good run for @CoachGoogs and @GoBearcatsBASE !!! Couldn’t be more proud of this group. #WEAREUC pic.twitter.com/W8QA7FtQkh
– Kevin Youkilis (@GreekGodOfHops) June 2, 2019
Great season @GoBearcatsBASE you made all alumni very proud !! #humcats
– Ian Happ (@ ihapp_1) June 2, 2019
“We played with a chip like this on our shoulders all year,” said senior pitcher David Orndorff. “We have been questioned by so many people … We have maintained a fearless mentality all season. So when we show up at the stadium, we are not afraid to play.”
That was evident when the UC tee off with the fourth seed 7-6 on Friday night against the state of Oregon with the highest seed on AJ Bumpass’ tiebreaking triple in the ninth inning. But UC’s bullpen collapsed in a 4-10 loss to # 3 Michigan on Saturday, and UC’s offensive failed to take on # 2 Creighton on Sunday.
Creighton’s Will Robertson hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning-off starter and loser Evan Shawyer, and that gave the Bluejays all the runs they needed.
The Bearcats scored their only run, taking a 1-0 lead in the third inning for only a short period of time. Cole Murphy singled, finished third on Jeremy Johnson’s single and one throwing mistake, and came home on a wild field.
Johnson went 3v4 and Murphy and Jace Mercer went 2v4. Mercer was 8v11 in the tournament.
SEE the box score.
UC (31-31) won the American Athletic Conference Tournament, won four games, defeating UConn 22-5 for the title to secure the conference’s automatic spot on the 64-team NCAA field.
Creighton will play for the regional championship against Michigan on Monday after beating the Wolverines 11-7 on Sunday night. The Blue Jays went 7-4 into the ninth inning, but scored seven runs in an unlikely comeback.
The winner advances to the super region against the UCLA Loyola Marymount winner.