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Evansville Outlasts Southern Illinois, 4-2, in Extra Innings

May 3, 2014

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CARBONDALE, Ill. – It took 11 innings, but the University of Evansville baseball team earned its fourth-straight Missouri Valley Conference victory with a 4-2 win over Southern Illinois Friday night at Itchy Jones Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.
After Southern Illinois (21-15, 3-13 MVC) tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with three-straight two-out hits, Evansville (29-15, 10-3) strung together four-consecutive one-out singles to plate a pair of runs in the top of the 11th.
Junior Kyle Pollock led the Aces offensively by going 4-for-6 with a pair of RBI and a solo home run.  Sophomore Josh Jyawook turned in a 3-for-5 effort, scored a run and drove in another as UE's leadoff hitter and senior Jake Mahon tallied multiple hits by going 2-for-6 with a run scored.
On the mound, junior Kyle Freeland became just the fourth pitcher in school history to strike out 100 or more batters in a season, as he raised his season total to 106 with nine strikeouts, moving him into a tie with John MacCauley for third place on Evansville's single-season strikeout list.  Freeland allowed two runs on 11 hits over 9.0 innings and issued just one walk.  Senior Sam Johns (2-0) tossed the final two innings, giving up just two hits with three strikeouts to pick up his second win of the season.
In a game in which the two teams combined to strand 27 runners, the Salukis scored the first run of the night in the bottom of the fourth.  After Freeland retired the first two batters of the inning, Dyllin Mucha came through with a two-out single, before he scored on a Connor Kopach tripled off the base of the wall in left center.
SIU starter Sam Coonrod held the Aces scoreless for six innings, before UE finally got on the board in the top half of the seventh.  Sophomore Shain Showers led off the frame with a double down the left field line, senior Johnny Day drew a walk and both runners moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by junior Jarod Perry.  Jyawook tied the game at 1-1 by driving in Showers with a shallow single to left.
Evansville took its first lead of the night in the top of the eighth, when Pollock crushed the first pitch he saw from Southern Illinois reliever Kyle Pauly over the wall in left, but the Salukis would force extra innings with a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth.
Kopach started the rally with a soft single to center, before Parker Osborne reached on an infield hit to the hole in the left side of the infield.  With SIU down to its last strike, Jake Welch dumped a ball into center to score Kopach and tie the game at 2-2, before Freeland got out of the inning with a strikeout of Ryan Casillas.
Evansville put a runner in scoring position in the top of the 10th, but was unable to manufacture a run against Southern Illinois reliever Lee Weld (3-1).  However, the Salukis would create a golden opportunity in the bottom of the inning by putting the game-winning run at third with just one out, after Cody Daily led off Salukis' half of the10th with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt.  Johns was able to get out of the jam, when Matt Jones bounced into a ground out and Daily was thrown out at the plate, following a wild pitch that Pollock was able to smother and flip to Johns for the tag.
UE used that momentum to plate a pair of runs in the 11th, as Jyawook and Mahon reached on one-out singles, before junior Kevin Kaczmarski and Pollock plated them with singles of their own to give Evansville a 4-2 advantage.  Johns then proceeded to notch all three of his strikeouts in the bottom of the 11th, stranding the tying run at first base to complete the victory.
Kopach led SIU's offensive by going 4-for-6 with an RBI and a run scored, while Coonrod allowed just one run on four hits with five strikeouts and four walks over 6.1 innings in a no decision.
Evansville and Southern Illinois will be back on the diamond tomorrow at 4 p.m. for game two of the three-game series.  The Aces will send sophomore Connor Strain to the mound, while the Salukis are expected to counter with senior right-hander Todd Eaton.

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