LITTLE ROCK — Pine Bluff native Chance Cleveland is expected to be Arkansas-Little Rock's workhorse of the pitching staff, according to the Trojan baseball coaches.
LITTLE ROCK — Pine Bluff native Chance Cleveland is expected to be Arkansas-Little Rock’s workhorse of the pitching staff, according to the Trojan baseball coaches.
On Friday, Cleveland got the ball on opening day for the Trojans and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and he held the Golden Lions to two hits in six innings as UALR went on to win 13-0 at Gary Hogan Field.
“That’s why he was recruited here, to give him an opportunity to do that,” UALR coach Scott Norwood said. “He is a hard nosed kid and he brings fortitude to the team, and you see he is that way.”
Cleveland, who graduated from Watson Chapel and came from Crowder College in Missouri, was just happy see the season start.
“The team played well both offensively and defensively, and it was just a good day for baseball,” he said. “Hopefully I can keep this success the rest of the year.”
Cleveland is a junior and chose UALR (1-0) over Marshall and Missouri State.
“Coach Norwood sold me on here,” he said. “I love it here and I love playing for them. This is where I wanted to be, back home.”
UAPB (0-1) did not get the same opening-game performance out of Jordan Sechler as the transfer from California’s Allan Hancock College gave up eight runs on 10 hits and struck out one batter in three innings.
Sechler had seven batters with two-strike counts who ended up getting hits. He also gave up three home runs
“This is Division 1 and you can get away with that stuff outside of Division 1,” UAPB coach Carlos James said. “At Division 1, one pitch here or there will change the complexity of the whole game. I feel like if we would’ve got out of that second inning with no runs or just a run or two, the game would’ve been a whole lot different.”
Sean Bignell had two of the four home runs for UALR. Chris Burk added a two-run home run off Sechler. Myles Parma hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning for the Trojans.
“I thought early we were hitting the ball hard and fouling off some balls,” Norwood said. “Then we got some good swings on it.”
Brett Schweiger came on in relief and pitched two innings and agave up one run on one hit and struck out three batters. Elliot Jackson went 1 1/3 innings with one run on two hits and two strikeouts, and Vince Newton finished the game with 1 2/3 innings with three runs on thee hits and three strikeouts.
Soloman Williams and Jacob Whitney had the Golden Lions’ two hits in the nine-inning game.
James said the pitchers have the advantage this early in the season.
“With everything going on, you don’t get a chance to see live pitching,” he said. “With us having eight pitchers, our guys haven’t faced a lot of live pitching.”
The two teams face off again at 3 p.m. today at Gary Hogan Field.