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UE Baseball Heads to No. 4 Vanderbilt for Midweek Tilt

February 26, 2014


DATE:  February 26
TIME:  4:00 p.m.
LOCATION:  Nashville, Tenn. (Hawkins Field)
MEDIA CENTER:  Live Video  |  Live Audio  |  Live Stats
NOTES:  Evansville

The University of Evansville baseball team will play its first nationally-ranked opponent of the season, when it travels to Nashville, Tenn., for a midweek contest with No. 4 Vanderbilt at Hawkins Field Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m.
Evansville (3-3) will be looking to snap a three-game losing skid, as the Aces were swept by Mercer last weekend in Macon, Ga.  Sophomore Josh Jyawook led UE offensively with a .462 average (6-for-13) last weekend, including a double and an RBI.  Fellow sophomore Shain Showers tallied his first home run of the season, as part of a 5-for-12 performance that included a pair of RBI.  Senior Jake Mahon also hit over. 300 for the series, finishing 4-for-13 for a .308 clip, including a homer, a double and an RBI.
None of Evansville's three starters made it out of the fifth inning in the Mercer series, but a four Aces' relievers turned in scoreless outings in at least one inning of relief, as Conor Gilligan, Alex Gould and Brent Jurceka all tossed 2.0 frames of scoreless ball, and Brandon Kelley made his collegiate debut by striking out three in 1.1 scoreless innings.
As a team, UE is hitting .261 as a team with 17 extra-base hits, including 13 doubles.  Evansville has also stolen 14 bases in 16 chances and Aces' catchers have already thrown out five would-be base stealers in UE's first six games. 
Jyawook is one of four Evansville hitters that has driven in at least four runs this season and leads the squad with a .409 average, six walks and a .536 on-base percentage.  Juniors Kevin Kaczmarski and Kyle Pollock are both hitting .333 on the year, while Kaczmarski leads the club in doubles (4), RBI (6), slugging percentage (.583) and stolen bases (5). 
Aces' pitchers have combined for a 4.94 ERA on the season with a 41:26 strikeout-to-walk ratio.  Opponents have posted a .299 average in 51.0 innings against UE hurlers, which includes 19 extra-base hits.  Wednesday's game will serve as a staff day for Evansville, but junior Matt Rodgers is slated to get the start and enters the contest with a 1-0 record. The righty tallied 3.0 innings of scoreless relief with four strikeouts in his lone outing of the year on Feb. 16 at Lipscomb.
Vanderbilt (7-0) will host Western Kentucky Tuesday afternoon, before welcoming Evansville to Hawkins Field Wednesday.  The Commodores enter the week ranked No. 4 in both the Collegiate Baseball and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) polls and are No. 8 in both the Baseball America and USA Today polls.  VU remained perfect on the season by sweeping Illinois-Chicago last weekend in Nashville, as Vanderbilt outscored the Flames, 28-2.
The Commodores are hitting .321 as a team this season and have plated 50 runs to their opponents seven.  Four VU batters own averages of .300 or better, including Zander Wiel, who sports a .417 average with four doubles, five RBI and a .533 on-base percentage.  Bryan Reynolds is hitting .375 with a team-best seven RBI, while Dansby Swanson has posted a .310 average with a pair of doubles, four RBI and four stolen bases.
Vanderbilt's pitching staff has been one of the best in the nation to start the year, as the Commodores have combined for a 0.43 ERA, allowing just three earned runs in 63.0 innings, and are limiting opponents to a .139 average.  Jared Miller leads the staff with a 2-0 record and has yet to allow a run in 13.0 innings of work, while 2013 Golden Spikes Award finalist Tyler Beede has notched a team-high 18 strikeouts and is holding opponents to a .056 batting average in his 11.0 innings of work.  VU's bullpen has yet to allow a run in over 19 innings and is led by closer Carson Fulmer, how has tallied two saves and fanned 10 opposing hitters in 5.0 frames.
Wednesday's game will mark the 50 th all-time meeting between Evansville and Vanderbilt, with the Commodores holding a 32-17 advantage in the series.  Last season, VU knocked off the Aces, 13-0, in Nashville.

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