Baseball Falls On Opening Day At No. 4 Texas, 6-1
Feb. 20, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas- Fourth-ranked Texas broke an early tie with a four-run second inning and never looked back as the UIC baseball team fell in its season opener to the Longhorns, 6-1, at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday.
Junior southpaw Chris Kovacevich suffered the loss despite allowing just three earned runs in six innings for the Flames (0-1), who mustered five hits and a single run off of three pitchers for Texas (1-0).
Chance Ruffin allowed just one run and four hits to get the win for the hosts.
The Longhorns took advantage of early UIC miscues. Kovacevich's wild pitch in the opening inning put a runner on third with one away, setting up Brandon Belt's sac fly that plated the game's first run.
The first Flames run of the season was scored in the next half-inning. Brett Schaefer singled to lead off the frame and moved into second on Ruffin's wild offering to Jason Ganek. Two batters later Rafael Garcia smacked a single to left that drove in Schaefer and evened the contest.
But Kovacevich's error in the bottom portion of the second opened the floodgates. A single and a walk to start the inning set the stage for an attempted sacrifice bunt by Tant Shepherd that was fielded by Kovacevich, but the UIC hurler made an errant throw to first that allowed the go-ahead run to score and put two more in scoring position. Two consecutive sacrifice flies plated in those runs to put the Horns up 4-1.
Kovacevich then encountered two-out trouble in the same inning, sandwiching a single with a pair of free passes to load the bases. He walked Preston Clark with the bags juiced to allow the fourth and final run of the frame.
Texas plated the game's last run in the sixth on Belt's RBI double.
Rookie right-hander Matt Salemi made his mound debut for the Flames with two innings of scoreless one-hit relief.
The Flames resume their series with the Longhorns on Saturday, Feb. 21 with a doubleheader that begins at 12:30 p.m.