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Cincinnati Series Preview

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Cincinnati comes into town this weekend to face the #18 Auburn Tigers fresh off a big series win at UCF. Auburn will certainly be the favorite in this series, and should have a reasonable chance to sweep if the starting pitching is half decent. Let's take a look at the competition. 


Cincinnati Bearcats (1-6)

This team has not yet played a home game and will have to wait until March 8th to do so when they take on Bowling Green in a three game series. The Bearcats have played 7 away games: a three game series against Florida Atlantic, a three game series against Houston Baptist, and a weekday game at Indiana. 

Florida Atlantic swept the Bearcats to open the season: 9-0, 8-7 (11 innings), 5-3.

Houston Baptist took two out of three very closely played games: 5-4, 2-1, 4-5 (12 innings).

Indiana and Cincinnati played Tuesday and Indiana handled them pretty easily, winning 7-1. 


Players to watch: 

Joey Wiemer (0.393/ 0.514/ 0.429) is mostly an on-base guy. 11 total hits on the season, 10 singles and one double. He also leads the team in walks with 7. 

Jeremy Johnson (0.321/ 0.441 / 0.429) The Auburn alum is back on campus, and will get his regional championship ring tonight behind home plate from the Auburn team. Johnson has a home run on the year and hits for average pretty well. He, however, is second on the team in strikeouts and only has 8 other hits that are all singles. We know what kind of player he is, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him perform pretty well this weekend against his old team. He's a good player, and I actually thought he would start for us this season. 

Jace Mercer (0.241 / 0.371 / 0.379) Junior who has played on and off throughout his time at Cincinnati. He is probably their biggest power threat, already knocking a home run and a double this season. If it's not him, I'd look at Eric Santiago, who is now starting for the third year in a row, and had 6 home runs last season. 


Pitchers to watch:

     Bearcat starters will be:

                   Friday - AJ Kullman (0-1, 10.80)

                   Saturday - Nathan Kroger (0-0, 2.53)

                   Sunday -   Garrett Schoenle (1-0, 2.00)


Kullman played well his freshman season but seems to have dropped off a bit since then. His ERA the past two seasons have been 5.37 (60.1 innings) and 4.71 (49.2 innings). Kroger is probably their ace, but his numbers still don't just jump out at you. He's got a career ERA of about 5 in 100 innings pitched. He's pitched pretty well this season, however, only giving up 3 earned runs in a little over 10 innings. He may be someone we need to jump on early and chase him off. Schoenle is the youngest of the starters, and didn't throw all that much last season. When he did throw, however, he was pretty dern good. Opponents hit only 0.040 against him last season in 9.0 innings of work. If he wasn't so inexperienced, I'd probably term him as their ace, but I'm not sure we've seen enough from him to know yet. He's only given up 2 earned runs through 9 innings this season, but let's see what he can do against an SEC offense...

Like us, they turn to a lot of freshmen in their bullpen. Nick Murray, Drake Batcho, and Evan Shawver are all freshmen that have seen 6 or more innings of work in 7 games. Murray has been the best of the group, with a 1.80 ERA in 5.0 innings. We'll probably see all three of these guys at some point over the weekend. 


They are not a very exciting team to watch from a power standpoint, but some of their guys will get on base. I don't see a whole lot of pitching that will give us much trouble outside of Schoenle if he is what he's played like in his brief time on the mound. They've played a few extra inning games and have some one and two run losses as well. Certainly don't want to take them for granted, but in my mind, this is a series we need to set our sights on sweeping. 

War Eagle! 


P.S. UCF beat Florida last night. They've now beaten the Gators in baseball in their last 4 meetings. I'll root for them to win out now. 

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Wondering if this series was entirely for the benefit of Jeremy Johnson...would not surprise me one bit as that’s the kind of person Butch Thompson is. What a thrill it will be for Jeremy to pick up a ring in front of both his new and former teammates. Just freaking awesome. 

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