Aces earn first MVC series sweep since 2012
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – With two on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Morgan Florey connected on her fourth home run of the season to give the University of Evansville softball team a 4-1 win over Loyola in Missouri Valley Conference play on Sunday at Cooper Stadium.
Florey’s homer gave the Purple Aces (11-12, 3-0 MVC) their first conference sweep since 2012 against Indiana State. In the circle, the Peoria, Ill. native went the distance once again, giving up just one run in seven innings of work. She also struck out 12 batters, marking her fifth game in a row with 10 strikeouts.
“We had a goal going into this year to be good heading into conference play, which is why we scheduled as tough as we did,” Aces head coach Mat Mundell said. “To get a sweep in our conference opener is a testament to the ladies and how hard they have been working. This team showed what they are capable of by putting it together in all aspects – pitching, hitting and fielding. We are going to be tough to beat.”
Loyola (16-7, 0-3 MVC) came out looking to jump on the board early as the put runners at second and third with no outs. Morgan Florey was not deterred as she struck out two and got a groundout to end the threat. The Aces quickly took advantage and put the first run of the game on the board in the bottom of the frame. Brittany Hay led off with a bunt single and advanced to second on an error by the Ramblers. With two outs, Chandra Parr had a clutch hit to right to score Hay and give UE the early lead.
The Ramblers threated again in the top of the third by loading the bases, but Florey shut the door once again. In the sixth, Loyola was finally able to get on the board as Shannon McGee had an RBI single to right to tie the game at 1-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, UE saw some 2-out magic play a huge role in the victory. Brittany Hay and Michal Luckett each drew walks to bring Florey to the plate. She came through with a home run to deep center to finish off the game and give the Aces the sweep with the 4-1 win.
Evansville had seven hits while holding Loyola to five. Luckett and Parr had two hits apiece for UE while Erica Nagel registered two hits for the Ramblers.
Valley play continues next weekend as the Aces welcome Bradley to Cooper Stadium for a 3-game set. Saturday’s action features a 12 p.m. doubleheader before Sunday’s game begins at noon. Sunday will also feature recognition for former Aces softball and women’s soccer player Beth Csukas, who will receive the MVC Most Courageous Award at 11:45 a.m. All first responders will receive free entry to the game.