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    Baseball Drops Season Opener To Arkansas State, 5-4
     

     
    Junior second baseman Bryan Russo connected for the Flames' first homer of the season on Friday.
     
    Junior second baseman Bryan Russo connected for the Flames' first homer of the season on Friday.
     
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    Feb. 20, 2004

    Box Score

    Jonesboro, Ark. - The opportunities were there, but the University of Illinois at Chicago baseball team was unable to convert them in their season-opener as the Flames dropped a 5-4 non-conference decision at the hands of Arkansas State at Tomlinson Stadium on Friday afternoon.

    "Overall we played pretty good defense," Assistant Coach Sean McDermott said. "We didn't swing the bat as well as we would have like to, but it was your typical first game of the season with everyone anxious and wanting to do too much."

    With the victory, Arkansas State improves to 3-2 on the campaign, while the Flames fall to 0-1 on the season.

    Junior second baseman Bryan Russo led the Flames' offensively, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI on the afternoon. The Flames also received solid performances from both outfielders Shane Crowder (run) and J.P. Moran as they went 2-for-4 on the afternoon.

    The Flames' last gasp came in the top of the ninth inning with Arkansas State holding a 5-4 advantage.

    Crowder led off the frame with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by J.P. Moran.

    Senior outfielder Mike Hughes stepped to the plate and launched a rocket to third base, which ASU third baseman Brad Hayes knocked down and threw out Hughes by a step at first, stranding Crowder at third.

    Senior shortstop Jordan DeVoir then grounded out to end the game. DeVoir went 0-for-4 on the afternoon, snapping his 17-game hitting streak.

    UIC junior southpaw Ryan Gehring (0-1) took the loss for the Flames, scattering 11 hits over seven innings, while giving up five runs, four unearned.

     

     

    Arkansas State's Kernie Vertz earned the victory, scattering seven hits over six innings, while giving up four runs. Blake King retired the final two batters of the game to pick up his second save of the season.

    Both teams will do battle again on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. (CST).