UE Baseball Completes Sweep with 12-5 Win on Senior Day
May 11, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
EVANSVILLE BASEBALL RELEASE
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville baseball team completed a three-game sweep of visiting Illinois State with a 12-5, come-from-behind victory Sunday afternoon at Braun Stadium on what was Senior Day for the Purple Aces.
Evansville (33-17, 14-4 MVC) honored seven seniors prior to Sunday's contest, but it was the juniors that came through for the Aces, as Boomer Synek drove in four runs on by going 1-for-3 with a walk, Kyle Pollock finished 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI, and Kevin Kaczmarski tallied three hits, scored three runs and drove in another. Sophomores Josh Jyawook and Shain Showers bolstered the UE effort by combining to go 5-for-9 with two RBI and four runs scored.
Sophomore Conor Gilligan (3-0) earned the win on the mound by tossing 2.0 scoreless innings of relief and fellow sophomore Brent Jurceka shut down Illinois State (30-18, 10-8 MVC) over the final three frames to record his second save of the year.
The Redbirds surged out to an early lead by scoring two runs in each of their first two at bats against Evansville starter Matt Rodgers. Paul DeJong and Mike Hollenbeck drove in ISU's first two runs with back-to-back one-out hits in the top of the first, before Daniel Dwyer put Illinois State up 4-0 with a two-run double down the right field line in the second.
The Aces got a run back in the bottom of the second by taking advantage of a Redbird error, as Pollock reached on a dropped pop up and later scored on a single off the bat of Showers to cut ISU's lead to 4-1.
UE tied the game by scoring three runs in the bottom of the third, after Jyawook singled up the middle to lead off the frame, before scoring on a single by Kaczmarski and a throwing error by the Illinois State right fielder. Synek later tied the game at 4-4 by driving in two of his four runs on the afternoon with a long single that snuck just inside the right field line.
After Gilligan retired the Redbirds in order in the top half of the fourth, Evansville's offense erupted for five runs against ISU starter Jeremy Rhoades (6-4). Jarod Perry led off the frame by getting hit by a pitch for the 24th time this season to set a new school record, before Jyawook reached on a fielder's choice for the first out of the frame. Following a walk to senior Jake Mahon, Kaczmarski singled up the middle to give the Aces their first lead of the game. Pollock followed with an RBI double, Synek drove in a run with a hard ground out to first, Eric McKibban plated Pollock with a hit to shallow center and Showers capped the scoring with a double to the gap in right center to put UE up, 9-4, after four full innings.
DeJong drove in another run for Illinois State in the Redbirds' half of the sixth, but Evansville reliever Connor Strain was able to limit the damage by stranding the bases loaded and Evansville put the finishing touches on the sweep by scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth to make the final score, 12-5.
Dwyer, DeJong and Hollenbeck led ISU with two hits apiece, while Dwyer and DeJong also scored once and each drove in a pair of runs.
With the win, the Aces remain two games in front of Indiana State in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with just three conference games remaining. UE last won an MVC title in 2006, when Evansville claimed both the regular-season and MVC Tournament championships.
The Aces will close their regular season with four-straight road games, as Evansville will travel to Edwardsville, Ill., for a non-conference game with SIU Edwardsville Tuesday, May 13, at 6 p.m., before concluding the regular season with a three-game series at Missouri State, May 16-18.