The Miami RedHawks (26-15, 11-7 Mid-American) used the strong evening winds at Hayden Park to their advantage Tuesday, as they powered past the Cincinnati Bearcats 7-2.
“The offense did a really good job today,” MU head coach Danny Hayden said. “I thought early on that it looked like we were relying a little too much on the wind blowing out and getting some balls up in the air, but we really settled in offensively and grinded out some good at-bats.”
Redshirt senior first baseman Ross Haffey hammered a ball past the left-center field wall and off the scoreboard to put Miami up 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Not wanting to be outdone by his teammate, sophomore third baseman Landon Stephens homered to deep center field two batters later.
The two first-inning long balls set the tone for the rest of the contest, as the RedHawks never trailed.
After the Bearcats (22-20, 8-7 American) got one run back in the top of the second, Miami extended its advantage to 3-1 on an RBI single by Redshirt senior catcher Spencer Dull in the bottom of the frame.
An inning later, junior designated hitter Hayden Senger crushed Miami’s final homer of the day to left-center field. It pushed the Red and White’s lead to 4-1.
Redshirt freshman Jay Wilson got the start for Danny Hayden’s ballclub and turned in four innings of work. He allowed just one unearned run on two hits and struck out six Bearcat batters. The five walks he handed out were the only blemishes on his outing.
“Jay had it going pretty good today,” Hayden said. “I would’ve liked to have cut out a couple of the walks from him, but man, he had some really big swing-and-misses. He set the tone, I thought, for us pretty good.”
Dull, making just his sixth start of the season behind the dish, came through again in the bottom of the sixth with another RBI single. He’d finish the day 2-for-4 with those two RBIs.
“The big one for me is getting Spencer Dull back there,” Hayden said. “The kid hadn’t played in a little bit and had a really good game and was a big reason why we able to build a pretty good lead, so really happy for him to have the night he had.”
An RBI sacrifice bunt by Redshirt sophomore right fielder Kyle Winkler in the seventh and a Haffey sacrifice fly in the eighth plated the final two MU runs of the day to make it 7-1.
With the score stuck at 7-1 and UC down to its final out, the Bearcats did their best to make it interesting.
Junior pinch-hitter Cole Murphy stung a ball over the left-field fence to cut Cincinnati’s deficit to 7-2.
The next batter was hit by a pitch and then singled to third by senior designated hitter Joey Thomas.
With runners on the corners, Miami brought in junior reliever Michael Hendricks, who caused freshman left fielder Joey Wiemer to pop out to sophomore Will Vogelgesang at shortstop to end the game.
Wilson’s (W, 1-1) performance earned him his first win of the season. His earned run average is now down to a solid 3.71.
Miami has won three straight after taking two out of three from the Ohio Bobcats over the weekend.
Tuesday’s win also keeps the ‘Hawks undefeated against Cincinnati this season. Miami beat UC 9-8 on a walk-off hit in the Joe Nuxhall Classic finals game last month.
Miami travels to Western Michigan this weekend to take on the Broncos. Friday’s first pitch is at 3 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday both feature a 1 p.m. start time.