With a chance to earn a big series victory over Missouri Valley Conference rival Indiana State, the University of Evansville baseball team suffered doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Sycamores at Charles H. Braun Stadium Sunday afternoon.
In game one, the Aces sent out junior starting pitcher Nathan Croner, who fell behind quickly, 3-0 through the first two innings. However, the southpaw would recover from the rocky start to keep ISU of the scoreboard the next four frames.
Meanwhile, the Evansville bats would finally get to work in the fourth inning, as senior third baseman Sam Troyer would get the Aces on the scoreboard with an RBI double to the gap in right-center, bring in sophomore first baseman Tanner Craig, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
Croner would exit the game after the sixth inning. The junior’s final line would be three runs on five hits, while striking out four. Freshman right-hander Shane Gray would come in to relieve Croner, but after tossing a scoreless seventh, Gray would get tagged for five runs in the eighth, putting the Aces in an 8-1 hole.
Freshman right fielder A.J. Fritz would get one more tally for UE in the bottom of the inning, but that was the end of the Evansville offense, as they fell in game one 8-2.
Game two would see the Aces strike first in the bottom of the opening frame, as senior designated hitter Nate Reeder lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Sam Troyer from third base for the ice breaker.
Senior right-hander Justin Hayden would begin his second straight start by tossing a scoreless first inning, but in the top of the second, Indiana State would knot the game up on an run-scoring single by Dane Tofteland.
Hayden would bounce back to toss a scoreless third, but in the fourth he would run into trouble again, getting touched up for three runs, capped by a Chase Huntley RBI single to center, and when the smoke cleared, the Aces were down 4-1.
However, they didn’t stay down for long. In the bottom of the frame, freshman A.J Fritz drilled a two run home run to left, drawing Evansville within one, 4-3. Later in the inning, senior left fielder Matthew Jones would tie the game up on a run-scoring single to left, bringing in junior center fielder Troy Beilsmith for the equalizer, making it 4-4.
Senior left-hander Alex Weigand would take over for Hayden in the fifth inning, and he would go onto toss three scoreless frames, keeping the game knotted up. He would give way to fellow senior right-hander Austin Allinger, who would pitch a shutout eighth. But in the ninth, he would give up a lead-off single, that an ensuing error would place the go-ahead run on second. Allinger would turn the game over to freshman Michael Parks, and the Sycamores would tag him for the go-ahead run and an insurance tally. The Evansville bats could not respond in the bottom og the frame, and UE fell 6-4.
The doubleheader sweep drops Evansville to 19-17 overall and 6-3 in Missouri Valley Conference play, while Indiana State improves to 29-9 on the season, and 6-3 in league play.
The Aces are back in action Wednesday night on the road against Tennessee-Martin. First pitch is at 6 p.m.