Aces Score Six Unanswered in 6-4 Win over Northwestern
March 14, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
EVANSVILLE SPORTS RELEASE
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – After falling behind, 4-0, in the second inning, the University of Evansville baseball team scored six unanswered runs to defeat Northwestern, 6-4, Thursday night at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Winter Haven, Fla.
"It was good to see our offensive come alive a little bit today," head coach Wes Carroll said. "We were down four runs early in the game and we came back with a big inning and had many contributors in that inning. Jake Mahon and Kevin Kaczmarski really came through for us."
Junior Kevin Kaczmarski drove in four runs for Evansville (7-5), including two with a single in the seventh that broke a 4-4 tie. Senior Jake Mahon also put together an impressive day at the plate, finishing 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Junior Jarod Perry bolstered the Aces' offense by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored out of the nine slot.
Junior Kyle Freeland (2-1) earned the victory on the mound by allowing four unearned runs on nine hits over 6.0 innings. Freeland notched nine strikeouts and issued just one walk to improve his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 29:2. Out of the bullpen, sophomore Brent Jurceka retired all six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings, before senior Sam Johns tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to tally his second save of the year.
Northwestern (3-11) got on the board first by taking advantage of a UE error to plate four unearned runs. Reidd Hunter led off the inning with a single to center, before moving into scoring position following a sacrifice bunt by Walker Moses. Cody Stevens then reached on an Evansville error, before Nick Linne drew a walk to load the bases. Freeland was able to get the second out with a key strikeout of Jake Schieber, but Matt Hopfner drove in two runs with a single to center and Scott Heeland drove in two more with a double to left center, giving the Wildcats a 4-0 lead.
NU starter Matt Portland held the Aces scoreless for four frames, before UE broke through by putting up four runs of their own in the top of the fifth. Freshman Max Foley recorded his first collegiate hit in the inning, before he was retired, when sophomore Shain Showers reached on a fielder's choice. However, Evansville would rally with two outs, as Perry came through with a single to right and sophomore Josh Jyawook coaxed a walk to fill the bags. Mahon delivered a two-run single to left to halve Northwestern's lead and Kaczmarski tied the game at 4-4 with a two-run single to right.
The Aces took the lead in the top of the seventh, when Kaczmarski drove in two more runs with a two-out single to left, plating Perry and Mahon. Jurceka and Johns then proceeded to retire the final nine Wildcat hitters in order to complete the comeback.
"We showed character by coming back from down for, as we have really been struggling offensively," Carroll said. "It was great to not only get back in the game, but to also get the win. Kyle Freeland pitched a good game tonight, and Brent Jurceka and Sam Johns did an outstanding job of coming out of the pen. After yesterday's loss, it was good to see us rebound by getting a win today."
Hopfner led NU with a 2-for-5 effort at the plate that included a pair of RBI, while Zach Jones and Moses also finished with multiple hits for Northwestern. Wildcat reliever Brandon Magallones (0-1) took the loss on the mound, allowing two runs on four hits in 3.0 innings of relief.
UE will continue the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m., when it takes on North Dakota State.