UIC Scores Early, Often In Pair Of Wins Over Cleveland St

Andy Leonard
Andy Leonard

CHICAGO- The University of Illinois Chicago baseball team scored a combined 33 runs and pounded out a combined 25 hits to sweep a doubleheader over Cleveland State at Les Miller Field on Saturday.

The Flames (6-12, 3-0 Horizon League) won the first game 15-5 before taking the nightcap by a final of 18-2. The twinbill sweep also gave UIC a sweep of the league-opening three-game series against the Vikings (3-13, 0-3 Horizon League).

Andy Leonard went 5-for-10 with four doubles and four RBI during the doubleheader, while Brandon Harwell was 3-for-5 with a homer, three RBI and four walks on the day.

Game One: UIC 15, Cleveland State 5

UIC posted a four-spot in the first inning and never looked back, defeating Cleveland State 15-5 in Saturday’s opener.

Tony Altavilla went 2-for-5, hitting his first homer of the season and driving in three runs, while John Rosinski drove in two on his first career homer.

Starter Chris Kovacevich was stout on the mound, allowing just three runs in 7.2 innings and fanning four without a free pass issued to get the win.

The Flames went up quickly. Nathan Orf reached on an error to lead off the first, and Altavilla followed by hitting the third pitch he saw from Cleveland State starter Dylan Henry over the fence in left center. UIC tacked on two more after Steve McGuiggan scored on a wild pitch and Harwell hit an RBI single.

UIC put up another four-spot in the third. Jason Ganek and Orf hit RBI singles, and grounders hit by Ty Rubio and Altavilla also allowed runs to score.

The hosts cemented the game in their favor with back-to-back three-run innings in the seventh and the eighth.

Game Two: UIC 18, Cleveland State 2

The Flames scored 12 runs in the nightcap’s first four innings, highlighted by a seven-run fourth, to overwhelm Cleveland State 18-2.

Leonard went 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI and three runs scored.

Cleveland State scored a run in the first to take an early advantage, but Harwell belted a two-run shot to ignite a four-run second.

Two innings later UIC sent 12 men to the plate and scored seven times on just two hits. The Flames took advantage of Viking wildness on the mound, as Cleveland State pitchers issued a combined five walks and hit two batters.

UIC starter Mike Kool allowed only two runs in six innings to notch the victory.

Five different UIC hitters drove in at least two runs during Saturday’s second game.

UIC begins a two-game midweek non-conference stop in Columbia, Mo. against Missouri this Tuesday night.