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Bearcats Drop Game One, Face Elimination Tonight

2:03 PM, May 25, 2016
Article by Jacob Geiser

The Bearcats kept it a close game for about 6 innings, then Houston took off. Tuesday in the AAC Championship opener Houston went out to thump my Bearcats 9-1. The Bearcats played great for the first 6 innings but Houston pulled away late. A.J Olasz started the game for the Bearcats and went 5 and 1/3 innings pitched and had 4 ER's. He didn't allow a lot of hard hit balls, it was weird. The 4 runs Houston scored off of Olasz, 3 were from squeeze plays that Houston executed perfectly. The lone run for the Bearcats was a bomb by sophomore first basemen Ryan Noda. He homered in the bottom of the fifth to get the Bearcats to within one run at the time. All season UC had struggles scoring against the Cougars pitching staff. Houston has one of the top two pitching staff'statistically in the nation. Houston showed that off yesterday by throwing Trey Cumbie who had a career high 9 K's.

Bearcat fans wondered why Ty Neal threw Olasz instead of Zellner or Perez, as did I. However, the logic behind it is you save those top dogs for an elimination game. In all likelihood we will see either Zellner or Perez on the hill tonight for the Bearcats. If I had to pick, it would be the junior right hander Andrew Zellner. The junior was just award first team All-AAC. The only Bearcat on either the first or second team. Zellner had his troubles against the Knights however in the lone series this year. He went 6 and 2/3 innings while giving up 6 runs, all earned. Zellner most likely won't perform like that again but it is something to note.

Tonight the Bearcats square off with the UCF Knights at 7 P.M. If you want to watch them they will be on the American Digital Network. The game is the first elimination in the AAC tournament.It puts UC at a disadvantage if they want to make a run at NCAA tournament berth. UC will now to win out in the tournament which will be a tough task. Some good news for today's game is UC won't be facing the ace of the UCF Knights. Robby Howell threw yesterday in a 4-3 loss vs. Tulane. Howell is the AAC leader in ERA; going into the game he was sitting at 1.91 and I'm sure it went up after giving up two runs.

The Bearcats will need to put the ball in play and give Zellner/Perez some run support. They can't afford to leave runners in scoring position, every run will count. UC left bases loaded in the 8th inning yesterday, at that point it was 6-1. Scoring those runs could've changed the momentum and moral of the team. The Bearcats will need to also exercise some demons, UC is 0-7 in games on a neutral field. Away from Clifton, UC is 8-22 (including neutral field losses). Time to get ride of some of the demons and pick up a win. With either Zellner or Perez on the mound I like UC chances of getting the first win in conference tournament play since 2008.