The University of Evansville baseball team jumped out to a big lead, then rode it to an 8-4 victory over Belmont, earning a home-and-home season sweep of the Bruins, Tuesday night in Nashville.
The Purple Aces grabbed the early advantage in the top of the first inning, as freshman first baseman Tanner Craig sent a single up the middle, driving in Troy Beilsmith for his 20th RBI of the season, putting Evansville up 1-0.
The third frame opened with senior third baseman Stewart Nelson drawing a walk, sophomore center fielder Kenton Crews singling up the middle, then Tanner Craig drawing a one out walk to load up the bases. Senior right fielder Dalton Horstmeier would supply an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Nelson, making it 2-0 Aces.
Meanwhile, senior right hand pitcher Jimmy Ward, making his second start of the season, pitched three innings of shutout work, striking out three, while scattering two hits.
The big inning came in the fourth, which began with Stewart Nelson driving in Evan Aders on a single to left. Kenton Crews followed that up with a 2-run home run to to right, giving Evansville a 5-0 advantage. Tanner Craig would tack on one more tally, driving in sophomore left fielder Troy Beilsmith with an RBI double, pushing the UE lead to 6-0.
Belmont would finally break through on the Aces bullpen in the bottom of the inning, but the Evansville bats answered right back, as EvanAders delivered a solo home run to left in the fifth frame.
The Aces would take an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth, when Belmont loaded the bases with one out. However, DaltonHorstmeier induced a game-ending double play, ending the threat.
The win improves Evansville’s overall record to 11-35, while the loss drops Belmont to 17-35.
The Purple Aces wrap up the regular season at home with a Thursday, Friday and Saturday series against Missouri Valley Conference rival, Illinois State.