The Cincinnati Bearcats demolished the UCONN Huskies 22-5 in the AAC championship game, earning a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1974. Cincinnati, going into the tournament as a team three games below .500, showed their muscle by absolutely destroying the baseball through the week and finished with an old-fashioned blowout of the Huskies.
Coming into the tournament, the Bearcats were looked at as just a fluke, even though they were the number two seed. While they broke away late from Memphis in the first game, a solid team win against Tulane on Thursday started to build confidence through not only the team, but the fanbase as well.
Facing UCF on Saturday for a chance to earn a spot in the championship game, the Bearcats were in a big hole early. Down 5-2 in the 5th, Wyatt Stapp hit a 2-run bomb and the Bearcats wouldn’t look back as they ended the game with a 10-6 win. It wasn’t an easy victory, but the resilience and determination was felt, and the train kept chugging along.
Cincinnati had won the regular season series against UCONN, but a much bigger fight was going to be felt on Sunday. That, however, was not true in the slightest. Led by Jace Mercer’s 5-5 day, Cincinnati got up early and never looked back. While UCONN never looked like themselves on Sunday, the Bearcats were able to shock the nation by snagging a NCAA tournament bid while demolishing a high-caliber opponent.
Scott Googins, in only his second year of coaching a Cincinnati team that had been picked to finish eighth in a nine team conference, has pulled off the improbable upset to capitalize a terrific year for Bearcat athletics. Led by A.J. Bumpass’ M.V.P. Week of hitting .643 with two home runs and seven RBI’s, the Bearcats were able to show that they belonged with the big dogs. While their tournament destination is still to be determined, no school wants to face the red-hot Cincinnati Bearcats right now, and for good reason.