ROCK - Behind the arms of seniors Chance Cleveland and Blake
Huffman, the UALR baseball team (4-2) swept its doubleheader against SIU
Edwardsville (1-5) on Saturday at Gary Hogan Field, winning the first game by a
final score of 2-1 and taking the second contest by a score of 2-0. Cleveland
and Huffman combined for 14 innings on the mound, 14 strikeouts, and both
picked up a win in their respective starts.
SIU Edwardsville put a run on the board in the first
inning of game one courtesy of a Trojan error, but that would be the only runner
to cross home plate for the Cougars the rest of the day as the Trojan pitching
staff blanked the visitors for the final 17 innings of the doubleheader.
In game one, Cleveland bounced back from a disappointing
season-opening loss to Evansville and responded with eight strikeouts over
eight innings pitched, scattering three base hits and walking one batter.
After six batters came to the plate in the first inning, Cleveland shut down
the Cougar offense by retiring 17-of-19 batters.
Offensively, UALR was having troubles of its own. It
wasn't until the bottom of the fourth inning that the Trojans were able to
produce a run on SIU Edwardsville's Sam Hopkins. A lead-off double by junior Kaleb Jobe jumpstarted the inning and
put a runner aboard with nobody out. A fly out then advanced Jobe to third
base, bringing freshman Ryan Scott
to the plate with one out. Scott answered the bell with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Jobe and tying the game at one.
In the sixth inning, junior Austin Pfeiffer walked and stole second base, putting a runner in
scoring position for the Trojans. With two outs in the frame, junior Ben
Crumpton laced an RBI-single to center field, scoring Pfeiffer from second and
giving UALR its first lead of the game.
Two runs was all the Trojans would need in game one as
the combination of Cleveland and junior closer Dillon Moritz sealed a game one victory. Moritz worked the final
inning, picking up his second save of the season in the process.
Jobe and senior Blake
Johnson paced the Trojans offensively in game one with two hits apiece,
while Pfeiffer went 1-for-2 with a run scored.
In game two of the doubleheader, Huffman picked up
right where Cleveland left off. The senior from Tyler, Texas worked six innings
of shutout baseball, striking out six and walking only one batter. Sophomore Cameron Allen came in relief and worked
a perfect seventh and eighth inning, picking up three strikeouts in the
process. The Trojans turned the ball over to Moritz again in the ninth inning
as the right-hander from Aurora, Colo. picked up his second save of the day, capping
a masterful performance from the entire UALR pitching staff.
After a quiet three innings, the fourth inning proved
to be favorable for the Trojans yet again in game two. With two outs and nobody
on, senior John Clark doubled to right field, setting up senior Chris Burk with
an RBI opportunity. Burk delivered by ripping an RBI-single to left field,
scoring Clark and breaking a scoreless tie.
UALR added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth
inning, courtesy of an RBI double off the bat of Johnson that scored senior Myles Parma all the way from first
SIU Edwardsville doubled UALR's hit total in game two,
but the Cougars failed to capitalize on their chances, leaving eight runners on
base. The Trojans only managed to scatter four hits in the second game, with
all of them coming from the top five hitters of the lineup.
UALR will turn right around for the series finale
against SIU Edwardsville tomorrow from Gary Hogan Field. First pitch is scheduled
for 1 p.m.