Aces Win Two to Complete Sweep at Lipscomb
February 17, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Evansville baseball team completed a season-opening sweep of Lipscomb Sunday at Dugan Field in Nashville, Tenn., as the Aces rallied in the ninth inning of both games to take the opener, 10-7, prior to defeating the Bisons, 3-2, in the nightcap.
"It's a great way to start the season, going 3-0 and getting a sweep on the road," head coach Wes Carroll said. "Our team showed a tremendous amount of character today, by getting the win late in both games. In the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, our guys really competed and show a lot of character."
Junior Kyle Pollock led Evansville (3-0) offensively in the twin bill, finishing the day 5-for-9 with a triple and four RBI. Fellow junior Kevin Kaczmarski went 4-for-9 with three extra-base hits, including a ninth-inning, bases-clearing triple in game one. Junior transfer Jarod Perry and sophomore Eric McKibban also tallied multiple hits on the day, collecting two hits apiece.
"Kyle Pollock came up with some big hits for us in the clutch," Carroll said. "Also, our pitching really competed for us and put a cap on a great start to the season."
As a team, the Aces hit just .217 for the two contests, but reached base at a .389 clip, after drawing 19 walks and taking advantage of six Lipscomb (0-3) errors. Five of UE's 15 hits went for extra bases and Evansville committed just one fielding error.
On the mound, a pair of relievers earned wins for the Aces, as senior Tyler Miller tallied the win in game one and junior transfer Matt Rodgers earned his first victory in a UE uniform in game two.
GAME 1 RECAP (EVANSVILLE 10, LIPSCOMB 7)
Evansville trailed, 6-5, entering the ninth inning, but managed to plate five runs in the frame to earn a 10-7 victory.
Pollock finished 4-for-5 at the plate and drove in three runs, while Kaczmarski went 2-for-5 and recorded all three of his RBI with a ninth-inning triple to right center.
The Aces got on the board first in the top of the second, scoring two runs on a pair of Lipscomb errors. With one out in the frame, Rodgers drew a walk, before sophomore Shain Showers was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out. Both later scored, when the Bisons committed back-to-back defensive miscues on ground balls hit by Perry and senior Jake Mahon.
LU cut UE's lead to 2-1 in the bottom half of the second, when Austin Sistrunk drove in a run on an RBI groundout, but got the run back, when Pollock came through with a two-out single up the middle to score Mahon and put Evansville back in front, 3-1.
Lipscomb took its first lead of the game in its half of the fourth, by plating three runs to go up, 4-3. Griffin Moore started the rally with a leadoff walk, before the Bisons got three-straight hits from Tyson Ashcraft, Josh Lee and Sistrunk to knot the game at 3-3. LU scored its third and final run of the inning, when Nick Rome grounded into a 6-4-3 double play for the first two outs of the inning. After Aces' starter Connor Strain issued a two-out walk to Jonathan Allison, freshman Jimmy Ward came out of the bullpen and got an inning-ending groundout.
UE retied the game at 4-4 in the top of the sixth, when Mahon reached on one of five Lipscomb errors and later scored on an RBI single by Pollock. Evansville tacked on another run in the top of the seventh on a run-scoring single off of Perry's bat, but the Bisons countered with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take a 6-5 lead into the ninth.
Sophomore transfer Josh Jyawook led off the Evansville ninth by reaching on an error and the Aces later loaded the bases, when Rogers drew a walk and Showers reached on yet another LU error.
Jyawook tied the game by scampering home on a wild pitch, before Lipscomb elected to intentionally walk junior transfer Boomer Synek to load the bases with two outs. Pollock gave UE a 7-6 lead by coaxing a bases-loaded walk for his third RBI of the game and Kaczmarki capped the rally with his triple to right center, which ended up being Evansville's lone hit of the frame.
Lipscomb got one run back in the bottom of the ninth, before senior Sam Johns came out of the bullpen and converted his first save opportunity of the season.
The Aces used four pitchers in the contest, as Strain allowed four runs on as many hits and issued five walks in his 3.2 innings, before Ward logged 3.0 innings, giving up a run on three hits and notching his first collegiate strikeout. Miller tossed 1.1 innings of relief, giving up two runs, one earned, on a hit and striking out two.
GAME 2 RECAP (EVANSVILLE 3, LIPSCOMB 2)
For the second-straight game, Evansville came through in the late innings, as the Aces plated a run each in both the eighth and ninth innings to earn a 3-2 win and complete the three-game sweep.
Kaczmarski was the only UE player to finish the nightcap with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Pollock, Jyawook and freshman Devin Williams combined for Evansville's three RBI.
Aces' starter Cole Isom got off to a shaky start on the mound in the first as he issued three walks, but the senior lefty was able to limit the damage and allow Lipscomb just one first-inning run.
UE quickly got the run back in the top of the second, when Williams picked up his first collegiate RBI by scoring Kaczmarski, who led off the inning with a double, with a sacrifice fly to left.
The Bisons quickly went back on top, 2-1, in the bottom of the third, when Ashcraft cleared the fence in left center for a solo home run.
The game remained 2-1 in favor of LU, before Evansville was able to manufacture a run in its half of the eighth. Synek and Pollock led off the inning with back-to-back walks and moved into scoring position, when Lipscomb committed an error on a ball off the bat of McKibban to load the bases. Jyawook followed the error by drawing a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at 2-2, before Ashcraft came into pitch and retired the next two batters he faced.
Lipscomb threatened in the bottom of the frame, as Rodgers surrendered a leadoff double to Moore, before plunking Ashcraft to put runners on first and second with nobody out. However, Rodgers responded by striking out the next three hitters in order to keep the game knotted at 2-2.
In the ninth, Evansville got yet another key triple, this time off the bat of Pollock. After Perry led off the inning with a single up the middle, Mahon reached on a fielder's choice and eventually scored on Pollock's two-out triple to the gap in right center, which proved to be the game-winning run.
The Bisons put the game-tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, when Allison doubled to left center, but Rodgers closed out the victory by getting Mike Korte to pop out to third and Drew Adams to ground out to short to end the game.
Isom provided UE with a quality start on the mound, allowing two runs on seven scattered hits in his 6.0 innings of work and not allowing a walk after the first inning. Rodgers got the win, throwing 3.0 innings of scoreless ball and striking out four.
Evansville will take its three-game winning streak back on the road next weekend, when the Aces travel to Macon, Ga., for a three-game series with Mercer. UE and the Bears will open the set Friday, Feb. 21, at 4 p.m.