Cleveland’s Gem Helps UALR Trip Cajuns, 7-2
Chance Cleveland led the nation in saves in junior college last year.
But he wanted to be a starting pitcher.
UALR head coach Scott Norwood promised to give him that opportunity and the Pine Bluff, AR native has made the most of the chance.
Cleveland won his eighth game of the season and remained undefeated at home as UALR defeated Louisiana 7-2 Friday night at Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock in the first game of a three-game Sun Belt series.
Cleveland (8-3) allowed three hits and a run in the first inning, but only allowed four hits after that as he pitched into the eighth inning. Cleveland is tied with Florida Atlantic's Ryan Garton for the most wins in the league.
Louisiana (19-21, 7-12 Sun Belt) scored on Tyler Girouard's RBI single in the first, but UALR got all the runs they would need off Cajuns' starter Jordan Nicholson (3-5) in the second. A single by catcher Blake Johnson followed by a walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases with none out. After Bryson Thionnet was called out on strikes, designated hitter Kaleb Jobe launched a grand slam homer to right to make it a 4-1 game.
That was all Cleveland would need as he walked two and struck out nine in addition to giving up seven hits. The right hander did not walk a batter until tiring in the eighth inning.
Center fielder Cameron Bentley had four hits for UALR (21-20, 8-11 SBC), who had twelve hits overall. Thionnet and Chris Burk each drove in a run for the Trojans.
Girouard was the only Cajun to garner more than one hit.
The two teams will face off again Saturday afternoon at 4pm. Left hander Chris Griffitt (5-2) will be opposed by right hander Blake Huffman (4-3).