The Cougars looked to be in midseason form, sweeping a doubleheader from the Raiders, 6-0 in the first game and 8-3 in the second.
Any coach would take a shutout to start the season, but four Cougar pitchers topped that in the first game as Thomas Huddleston, Brandon Zajac, Bobby Towne and Andre Wilson combined to toss a no-hitter. The Cougar hurlers struck out seven and walked five, completely dominating game one from start to finish.
“Couldn’t ask for much more to start the year, it was a really good start,” stated Cougar coach Mike Policastro. “The four guys came out and combined to throw a no-hitter, threw strikes and really didn’t have more than one runner on at any time.”
Game one remained scoreless until the fourth frame when the Cougars put a five-spot on the board. Zach Janes got things started in the top of the fourth with a single and later scored on a two-run double by Chase Edwards. Dalton Rogers and Colby Harmon each took one for the team and later scored on an RBI single from DeAndre Allen. A two-run single from Janes finished the outburst as the visitors took a 5-0 lead.
Cody Hiefnar doubled in a run an inning later which would be more than enough run support for the Cougar hurlers as Andre Wilson finished the deal by retiring the side in the seventh to put game one in the books. Zajac recored his first win as a Cougar while Brock Simon took the loss for Roane.
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead in game two and never looked back. An error, a wild pitch, a balk and an RBI single from Michael Hargrove added up to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Janes lifted a sacrifice fly in the second frame to push the Cougar lead to 4-0.
The visitors tacked on two more in the fifth as Edwards doubled in a run and Hiefnar singled in another while two Raider miscues accounted for a single run in the sixth and seventh.
The Raiders finally broke through with a single run in the sixth on an RBI single by Clay Fielden and then added two more in the seventh when Max Valenti and Blake Paschal singled in a run apiece.
Jeb Scoggins started and picked up the win for Cleveland State (2-0) in game two, Derek Chandler tossed two scoreless innings while Tyler Kilgore and Jordan Whitmire tossed the final three frames. Casey Howard suffered the loss for the Raiders.
“I think we wound up with 18 hits on the day and you’ll take that any time, especially first time out,” Policastro continued. “We kind of broke things open in the first game with a five-run inning and then scored early in the second game. Overall a good day and hopefully we can continue to build on this and get better as we go.”
The Cougars now turn their attention to the home opener at Cougar Field Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader, and Sunday for a single game at noon with Vincennes University.