Aces Continue Home Stand by Hosting Bradley for Weekend Series
April 24, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
DATES: April 25-27
TIMES: 6:00 p.m. | 2:00 p.m. | 1:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Evansville, Ind. (Braun Stadium)
MEDIA CENTER: Live Video | Live Audio (91.5 FM WUEV) | Live Stats
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS (EVANSVILLE STARTER LISTED FIRST)
Friday: Kyle Freeland, Jr., LHP (7-1, 1.83 ERA) vs. Elliot Ashbeck, So., RHP (5-1, 2.64 ERA)
Saturday: Connor Strain, So., RHP (3-3, 3.07 ERA) vs. Steve Adkins, So, RHP (1-0, 1.00 ERA)
Sunday: Cole Isom, Sr., LHP (3-4, 3.97 ERA) vs. Cameron Roegner, So., LHP (5-3, 4.33 ERA)
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville baseball team will host Bradley for a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series this weekend at Braun Stadium beginning Friday night at 6 p.m. The Purple Aces enter the set tied for first in the MVC standings with a 6-3 mark in league play.
The UE Athletics Department will be welcoming a pair of members from Team IMPACT to Sunday's game, as one will be throwing out the first pitch and the other will serve as Braun Stadium's guest public address announcer. Families of the Team IMPACT members will be able to enjoy free meals provided by the University of Evansville's Chi Omega sorority, who helped raise money through their "Dishes for Wishes" philanthropy project. In addition, the Aces' men's soccer team will be distributing information on Team IMPACT and accepting donations for bracelets to raise money for the non-profit organization that looks to create and expand team-based support systems for children facing life threatening and chronic illnesses.
This weekend's series will also serve as Youth Weekend, where youth in grades 8 or under will receive free admission to any game by wearing their youth baseball jersey.
Evansville (25-14, 6-3 MVC) enters the weekend in a tie with Dallas Baptist for the top spot in the Valley, after the Aces defeated the Patriots in two of three games last weekend in Dallas, before topping Murray State Tuesday night in a midweek, non-conference matchup.
UE leads the MVC in batting average with a .290 mark and ranks third in the league with a .386 on-base percentage, as all nine of Evansville's regular starters are getting on base at a .350 clip or better. The Aces boast a .392 slugging percentage with 101 extra-base hits, including a league-leading 80 doubles. On the base paths, UE has swiped 38 bases in 53 chances and Evansville is fielding .971, collectively.
Sophomore Josh Jyawook leads the team with a .338 average and is one of four Aces hitting .300 or better. Jyawook boasts a .436 on-base percentage and leads the team with 33 runs scored. Junior Kyle Pollock leads the team with 40 RBI and is hitting .333 with 12 doubles, three triples and three home runs for an even .500 slugging percentage. Sophomore Eric McKibban and junior Kevin Kaczmarski are hitting .319 and .308, respectively, and Kaczmarski leads the squad with 16 doubles, four homers and a .526 slugging mark, and ranks second on the team with 39 RBI.
Evansville's pitching staff has combined for a 4.16 ERA with 281 strikeouts, 124 walks and a .269 opposing batting average in 337.2 innings. Junior Kyle Freeland leads the staff and has been one of the nation's top pitchers, as he enters the series with a 7-1 record and 1.83 ERA. The Denver, Colo., native ranks in the top five nationally in four separate categories, including strikeout-to-walk ratio (2nd – 21.75), strikeouts per nine innings (3rd – 12.23), total strikeouts (4th – 87) and walks allowed per nine innings (5th – 0.56). Sophomore Connor Strain and senior Cole Isom will complete the Aces' rotation, as Strain enters the series 3-3 with a 3.07 ERA, after allowing just one run on three hits in 6.0 innings last weekend at Dallas Baptist, and Isom is 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 47.2 innings of work.
Out of the bullpen, senior Sam Johns and sophomore Brent Jurceka have been UE's top options. Johns leads the squad and ranks second in the MVC with seven saves, as he has fanned 16 opposing hitters in 22.1 innings and Jurceka ranks second on the squad with 38 strikeouts over 35.1 frames, spanning a team-high 16 relief appearances.
Bradley (21-16, 4-8 MVC) is 4-6 in its last 10 games and was swept by Omaha in a non-conference series last weekend at Dozer Park in Peoria, Ill. The Braves fell, 4-2, in the series opener, before the Mavericks completed the sweep with 7-0 and 11-6 victories Saturday and Sunday. On Tuesday, BU rebounded by topping SIU Edwardsville, 5-1, in a midweek tilt.
Bradley is hitting .284 as a team with 74 doubles, eight triples and 17 round-trippers for a .397 slugging percentage. The Braves have posted a .384 on-base percentage, have stolen a MVC-best 61 bases in 77 attempts and are fielding .958 with 58 errors.
Four BU hitters are hitting over the .300 mark, including Tyler Leffler, who leads the team with a .364 average and .494 on-base clip. Leffler has tallied 25 runs, 23 RBI and 11 doubles and has been hit by 17 pitches. Isaac Smith boasts a .360 batting average with 22 RBI and a team-high 15 stolen bases, while Max Murphy has been the top power threat in the Bradley lineup with a .328 average, 14 doubles, six homers, 31 RBI and a team-high .591 slugging percentage. Greg Partyka, who is hitting .302, leads the Braves with 34 RBI and has gone deep five times this season.
BU's pitching staff is posted a 4.20 ERA with 255 strikeouts, 133 walks and a .257 opposing batting average in 321.1 combined innings. Elliot Ashbeck, who is slated to toe the rubber Friday night, is 5-1 on the year with a 2.64 ERA. Ashbeck has registered 33 strikeouts against just eight walks in 47.2 frames and is limiting opponents to a .236 average. Steve Adkins, who is scheduled to start Saturday, is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA, as he has allowed two runs, one earned, with 13 strikeouts in just 9.0 innings. Sunday starter Cameron Roegner is 5-3 with a 4.33 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 35.1 innings on the hill.
Matt Dennis leads BU with six saves and sports a 3.60 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 12 walks in 25.0 innings. Dennis has appeared in a team-high 16 games out of the bullpen with a .255 opposing batting average.
In the all-time series with Bradley, Evansville owns a 44-35 advantage and defeated the Braves three times in four meetings last season. The Aces took two of three from BU in Peoria in the regular-season series, before walking off with a 4-3 win over Bradley in the MVC Tournament.