Baseball capsule: UConn welcomes rival Cincinnati in hopes of getting back on track

The Huskies take on their rival Cincinnati on Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 12 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m. at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

Time and place: 3 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs, Conn.

Series history: UConn leads the all-time series 18-11, dating back to 2006. The last time these two teams squared off on the diamond in 2016, the Bearcats took two of three in Cincinnati. Two years ago, the Huskies swept Cincy in a three-game series at home, which they will surely be looking to repeat this weekend.

UConn’s last time out: The Huskies lost their single midweek game 7-2 away to the Rhode Island Rams after a series of schedule changes due to weather. The UConn bats really struggled to produce all afternoon, as the Rams got plenty of offense from second baseman Chris Hess alone. Hess got three RBI on four hits to make sure the Huskies wouldn’t go into the weekend with a win.

Cincinnati’s last time out: The Bearcats didn’t play any midweek games this week, so their last time out was a home series against the East Carolina Pirates. After taking the first matchup on Friday night 8-2, Cincinnati was barraged by the Pirates’ offense for the remainder of the series. ECU outscored the Bearcats 20-3 on Saturday and Sunday, allowing a whopping 14 runs in game three.

Probable starting pitchers: UConn (22-1, 7-5 the American) vs. Cincinnati (20-20, 5-7 the American)

Friday: Tim Cate (3-3) vs. J.T. Perez (2-5)

Cate has really struggled in recent weeks after starting the season 3-1. Since his win over Memphis on April 7, the sophomore ace has gone 0-2 and has allowed 16 runs (10 earned) on 19 hits in just 8.2 innings. Look for him to get back on track this week.

After starting out the season quite poorly, Perez came alive last weekend against the Pirates in the opening game. The junior southpaw had his best outing of the season, allowing zero runs on seven hits in seven innings pitched. Perez also added eight strikeouts to his stat line in what was a very promising outing from the Bearcat’s pitcher.

Saturday: Wills Montgomerie (4-2) vs. David Orndorff (2-4)

Montgomerie has a 4.17 ERA so far this season, having allowed 59 hits and 27 earned runs a team-high 58.1 innings pitched. The right-handed junior leads the team in strikeouts with 81, well above the next highest pitcher, Mason Feole with 48 Ks. Last time out, Montgomerie earned a no decision as Dan Rajkowski came in and earned his first career win against the Knights.

Orndorff has done a lot on the mound for the Bearcats this year, whether it be start games or finish them off. The big right-handed junior at 6’5” has earned five saves to go along with his two wins, and has a 3.66 ERA for the year. Most recently, Orndorff allowed five runs on nine hits against the Pirates in just 5.2 innings of work.

Sunday: Mason Feole (5-1) vs. A.J. Kullman (6-3)

Feole’s stellar start to his collegiate baseball career hit a bump in the road last weekend as he earned his first loss in a three inning showing in Orlando, Florida against the UCF Knights. The freshman allowed five earned runs on seven hits and only struck out one batter on the afternoon. Feole still boasts an exceptional 3.12 ERA heading into the weekend.

Kullman is another one of Cincinnati’s tall arms, standing at 6’8” 227 lbs. Similar to his teammate Orndorff, the sophomore right-hander Kullman has done a bit of everything for his team this season. He’s earned two saves so far to go along with 22 strikeouts and a team-high five wins. Kullman’s last time out went horrendously, however, in a blowout loss against ECU in which he allowed five runs in just one inning before being relieved.

Cincinnati players to watch: Outfielders R.J. Thompson and A.J. Bumpass lead the way for the Bearcats’ offense. Thompson, a senior, is one of just two players on the team that has started all 40 games for Cincinnati and has driven in 17 RBI with two home runs and a .293 batting average on the season. Definitely watch out for Bumpass this weekend, he may cause the Huskies’ pitching staff some problems. He is just a sophomore, but leads the team in every major statistical category with a .309 average, 12 doubles, four triples, three home runs, 24 RBI and 23 walks this season.


Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.hanna@uconn.edu. He tweets @realchrishanna.