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Corvallis Regional Preview: Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats return to the baseball postseason for the first time since 1974 eager to challenge the Beavs

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Wichita State William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bearcats

The Skinny

For the first time since 1974, the Cincinnati Bearcats will be competing in the NCAA baseball tournament. Cincinnati clinched a spot in the tournament by winning the AAC tournament to secure an automatic qualifier. Had it not been for the strong playoff push, there’s a good chance Cincinnati would be at home for this tournament. With a 30-29 overall record, the Bearcats have fought all season to keep above .500 and desperately needed their league’s automatic bid to even get here.

One thing that pops out about the Bearcats’ season is how they have consistently struggled against quality teams. Some of these matchups includes teams such as Louisville, Eastern Carolina, Houston and UConn. Of these strong matchups, Cincinnati has a combined 3-7 overall record. This just highlights the team’s struggles against upper-echelon teams.

The Bearcats’ offense isn’t terrible, it’s just not that great. As a team, they have batted .257 on the season and have 308 total runs scored. As a comparison, opposing teams have a combined run total of 347 against Cincy. It doesn’t take an engineering degree to figure out that isn’t the most successful strategy to winning games.

Though the Bearcats have a middle of the road offense, they are crushed by a struggling pitching staff. As a team, Cincinnati has a 5.47 ERA and not a single pitcher with at least 15 innings pitched has an ERA under 4.50. All three starting pitchers for Cincy have an ERA of 4.70 or higher. That puts the offense in a tricky spot to where they are forced to score runs early and often to stay alive in games. Any improvement in this department will be the key to Cincinnati’s postseason run.

Cincinnati is a team that caught a huge break and snuck into the tournament thanks to getting hot at the right time. They scored more runs in the past four AAC tournament games than probably any other series this season. You can’t rule them out. But until their pitching steps up, the Bearcats will struggle to take on this regional.

Number to Know: 51

Cincinnati scored 51 runs over the course of four games in the AAC tournament. This offensive outburst served as a major reason as to why Cincinnati won their league’s tournament.

History Against Oregon State: The Bearcats and Oregon State have never met head-to-head. Friday will be the first meeting of the two teams.

Schedule: Cincinnati will open their tournament schedule against the Beavers on Friday night at 7 PM PT.