Baseball Snaps Slide With Two Wins At Cleveland State

<b>Jason Ganek</b> recorded three RBI and his team-high seventh home run in the doubleheader sweep over Cleveland State.
Jason Ganek recorded three RBI and his team-high seventh home run in the doubleheader sweep over Cleveland State.

May 13, 2011

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AVON, Ohio - The UIC baseball team received a pair of powerful pitching performances on Friday as it swept the Cleveland State Vikings in a doubleheader at Pro Freight Stadium Friday, 5-2 in the opener and 9-0 in the nightcap.

In game one, junior Matt Heaslip (3-5) tied a career high for the Flames (24-23, 13-7 Horizon League) with seven strikeouts in a seven-inning complete game victory, the right-handed hurler's first since March 25. In the finale, freshman Collin Weyer (3-1) brought the best effort of his young career as he tossed the first complete game as a collegian, allowing just two hits, while striking out a career-high five batters, while facing the minimum 27 batters.

Weyer's effort was the third nine-inning complete game of the season from the UIC staff, as the freshman joins Matt Salemi who has twirled the feat twice. Weyer did set a new mark, however, by allowing only two hits. The previous low came when Salemi held Valpo to three hits in a 5-0 win on April 2.

The Flames struck early in game one, with the leadoff batter, Nick Addison coming in to score the game's first run. Addison was hit by a pitch to start the game and the next batter, designated hitter Andy Leonard, laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner up 90 feet. Third baseman Jason Ganek then placed a ball through the hole on the left side of the infield which allowed the fleet-footed Addison to score on the play and give UIC a 1-0 lead against Cleveland State's Anthony Sambula.

The Vikings grabbed their first lead in the bottom of the third inning by scoring two runs on two errors committed by UIC. With two outs and two runners on, Cleveland State's Zach Thompson chopped a ball back to Heaslip. Heaslip fielded the ball with ease, but his throw sailed over first baseman Joe Betcher's outstretched glove allowing the lead runner to score. Then, right fielder Jon Ryan was charged with a throwing error as his effort allowed a second run to score on the play. Thompson also tried to score on the play, but catcher Jacob McNamara tossed the ball which had rolled to the backstop over to Heaslip who was covering the plate in time to cut down the Vikings clean-up hitter for the final out of the inning. Following the unusual sequence, Cleveland State secured its first lead of the game, however, 2-1.

After Heaslip retired the Vikings in the bottom of the sixth, UIC had one last crack to knot the game in the final frame against reliever Travis Miller. The effort got off to a good start when Jon Ryan drew a walk and advanced to second on McNamara's sacrifice bunt. The next batter, Ryan Shober was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to five the Flames runners on first and second base with just one away. The next batter, Addison, was also hit by a pitch for the second time, taking one off the bill of the helmet to load the bases. The comeback would be complete when Leonard, who had missed the last five games, delivered a two-run single to UIC back on top, 3-2. Addison would then score on a sacrifice bunt by McGuiggan. McGuiggan scored the fourth run of the inning on Serna's triple to center field.

Heaslip went the distance, earning his first win since March 25 when he bested this same Cleveland State squad in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Les Miller Field. The right-hander also tied a career high with seven strikeouts on Friday, which was also previously achieved against the Vikings that day.

UIC struck first on the scoreboard once again in the nightcap. Ganek led off the fourth inning with a double off the base of the wall in left field and Serna followed by earning a base on balls. De LaRosa put down a bunt to attempt to sacrifice the runners, but Cleveland State starter Coty Bates had trouble fielding the call allowing Ganek to score, Serna to move to second and De LaRosa to safely reach first base for the Flames. Following another sacrifice bunt by Betcher, Ryan ripped a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Serna and giving UIC a 2-0 lead in the ballgame.

The Flames padded the lead in the top of the fifth after McNamara walked, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and came around to score on Addison's base hit to center field. Addison was able to take second on the throw to the plate and then stole third base later in the inning. The center fielder would come in to score easily on Serna's RBI double to make it 4-0 in favor of the visitors.

Neither team did any damage until the top of the eighth inning when Ganek led off the stanza with his seventh home run of the season, a rocket over the wall in left field to make it 5-0 in favor of UIC. The Flames added another mark in the inning when McGuiggan, who was on to pinch run for De LaRosa, scored from first base on a botched pick-off attempt by the Vikings, making it 6-0.

In the top of the ninth, McNamara drew a walk and pinch runner John Coen scored on Shober's RBI-single down the right field line. Later, Ganek added a sacrifice fly, his third RBI of the afternoon, and Serna notched an RBI-groundout to add the eighth and ninth runs of the game.

With four hits overall on the day, Serna extended his streak of reaching base safely to a team-high 25 games.

UIC will return to Les Miller Field on Sunday afternoon, May 15 for another Horizon League doubleheader, this time against the Valparaiso Crusaders beginning at 12:05 p.m. The Crusaders took two of three from the Flames earlier this season in Valparaiso.