For eight innings, the University of Evansville baseball team was the better squad, however it wasn’t enough, as Bradley caught and passed the Purple Aces in the final frame, taking an 8-5 decision, at Charles Braun Stadium, Saturday.
The game began with a bang for the Aces, as sophomore outfielder Troy Beilsmith launched a pitch from Braves starting pitcher Ryan Hodgett over the fence in left for his fourth home run of the season in the bottom of the opening frame, making it 1-0 Evansville.
In the 4th, a pair of singles from freshman designated hitter Pete Vaccaro and senior catcher Andrew Tanous, sandwiched by a sacrifice bunt by Sam Troyer, set up sophomore shortstop Craig Shepherd, who delivered a sacrifice fly to center, bringing in Vaccaro for an insurance run, pushing the UE lead to 2-0.
The Purple Aces would add to that pad in the fifth inning, as Troy Beilsmith, with senior first baseman Dalton Horstmeier aboard, struck again, tagging relief pitcher Alex Gray for a two-run home run to left, doubling the Evansville lead to 4-0.
The Aces would strike one more time with the long ball in the sixth frame, as Andrew Tanous led off the inning with a solo homer to left off Gray, giving Evansville a 6-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Aces junior starting pitcher Alex Weigand was lights out through the first five innings, striking out five Braves batter, while scattering two hits, while taking a shutout into the sixth. That’s when, with two on and two out, The southpaw turned things over to junior right hander Austin Allinger, who came in and struck out Derek Bangert to end the threat.
Allinger would go onto pitch a perfect seventh, as the Aces took a 4-0 lead into the eighth. That’s where Allinger lost his command, walking the lead-off hitter, then a wild pitch, followed by a catcher’s interference call against AndrewTanous, then another walk loaded up the bases for Bradley. A wild pitch from Allinger would allow one run to score. Then a sacrifice fly by Andrew Ivelia brought in another Bradley tally. Derek Bangert would send an RBI double down the left field line, cutting the Aces lead to 5-3. That would end Allinger’s night, as senior right hander Ryan Brady came in in relief. Brendan Dougherty would tag him for a run-scoring double, cutting Evansville’s lead down to one, before Brady would finally get out of the inning with a pop out to second.
Then came the ninth, where Daniel Bolt led off the inning by taking Brady deep for a game tying home run. Later in the inning, with runners in scoring position, a sacrifice bunt by Luke Shadid was misplayed by Brady, allowing the go-ahead run to tally for Bradley. Freshman reliever Austin Ruesch came into put out the fire, however Nick McMurray would tag him for an RBI single to right, providing Bradley an insurance. They would tack on one more, and the Aces could not respond in the ninth, as the Braves took an 8-5 decision.
The loss drops Evansville to 6-22, while Bradley improves to 20-9.
The series finale is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch at Braun Stadium. The game is available to watch on-line on ESPN Plus.