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Marge Schott Stadium at the University of Cincinnati.

The University of Cincinnati’s baseball team dropped all three matchups in their season-opening series against the Clemson University Tigers, starting their 2021 season off 0-3. 

Game One

In their first game in 345 days, the Bearcats failed to bring in a run. Clemson starter Davis Sharpe and reliever Mat Clark held the Bearcats to a shutout, with a final score of 0-5. Sharpe, a first-team Preseason All-American, held UC to one hit while tallying nine strikeouts over five shutout innings.

Not to be outdone, Clark kept the shutout intact, yielding one hit himself over the final four frames of the contest. The pair did not allow a single Bearcat to reach second base. 

The Bearcats slated junior ace, Evan Shawver, to toe the rubber opposite Sharpe. In four starts before the COVID-19 halted the 2020 season, Shawver pitched to the tune of a 1.59 earned run average while striking out 35 batters in 22.2 innings. 

Recently tabbed as one of the top 50 prospects for the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft by D1 Baseball, Shawver went toe-to-toe with Sharpe for the first four innings, not yielding a run. 

After finishing the fourth inning with 76 pitches, he was lifted in favor of graduate student Nathan Moore to begin the fifth. 

Clemson struck quickly, as center fielder Bryce Teodosio greeted Moore with a lead-off single to left field and promptly stole second base. After a sac fly by third baseman Blake Wright, Teodosio was brought home on a single by right fielder Dylan Brewer that snuck by the diving effort of second baseman Jace Mercer. 

In the seventh, the Tigers added some insurance. After a walk and a hit by pitch, catcher Jonathan French crushed a three-run home run over the center-field fence to extend the Clemson lead to four. Later in the frame, Clemson added another run on a double by first baseman Caden Grice. 

Game Two

On Saturday, the Bearcats dropped the second game of the series 5-2. Elon University transfer Dean McCarthy got the start for UC, his first appearance as a Bearcat, going 4.1 innings and yielding four runs. 

Clemson brought home the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning after Wright led off with a double and was brought around two batters later on a groundout to second base. 

The Tigers added three insurance runs in the fifth on three singles, two walks and a sacrifice fly, chasing McCarthy from the game. 

The Bearcats failed to draw up any offense until the top of the sixth inning when right fielder Paul Komistek crushed a solo home run, putting UC on the board for the first time this season. The Bearcats were able to push one more run across in the top of the seventh on a double by left fielder Griffin Merritt, but it was not enough to complete the comeback. 

Game Three

The Bearcats finally had made some offensive plays in game three, scoring seven runs on 10 hits. However, it was not enough, as they were defeated 8-7 in extra innings. 

Clemson pounced early, stroking a pair of two-run homeruns in the first inning to take a 4-0 lead four batters into the game. 

UC cut the deficit in half in the top of the second after Merritt and Mercer reached to start the frame, the former scoring on a base hit up the middle by Murray. 

Clemson scored a couple runs in the bottom of the frame to make the score 7-5, but the Bearcat bullpen would hold them scoreless until the bottom of the 10th inning. 

UC tied the score in the eighth after loading the bases with one out on a pair of singles from Mercer and senior Wyatt Stapp, along with a walk from Powell. Komistek reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Mercer. Then, Santiago roped a single to center field, scoring Stapp and knotting the score at seven. 

After the Bearcats were retired in order in the top of the 10th, Clemson recorded back-to-back singles to start the bottom half of the inning against reliever Nathan Moore. Moore was lifted in favor of sophomore Zach Segal, who uncorked a wild pitch, allowing the runners to advance to second and third with no outs. Shortstop James Parker then lined walk-off a single to left-center field on a 3-1 count, securing the sweep for the Tigers. 

UC will look to bounce back in a three-game series against Western Kentucky University this weekend starting Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. in Bowling Green, Kentucky.