EVANSVILLE, Ind. –  University of Evansville freshman starter Kenton Deverman tossed seven shutout innings on Friday night and the top three hitters in the UE lineup combined for eight hits and seven runs driven in as the Purple Aces caged the visiting Illinois State Redbirds, 9-1, in the series-opener at German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium in Evansville, Indiana.

“What a tremendous way to begin a series!” said UE head coach Wes Carroll.  “It all started on the mound for us with Kenton Deverman, as he was outstanding tonight.  From the start, he was in control, and once we got him the lead, he just took it to another level and shut down a very good Illinois State offense.

“Offensively, Harrison Taubert, Mark Shallenberger, and Kip Fougerousse were special tonight.  Mark and Kip had big home runs for us, and Harrison has really been great at the top of the batting order for us.  Hopefully, we can keep it going tomorrow!”

Deverman set the tone early, cruising through the first two innings, allowing just a pair of singles through the first two frames.  Illinois State threatened to take the lead in the third inning, getting a lead-off walk, a single, and a stolen base to put two men in scoring position with no one out.  But, that is when Deverman buckled down and changed the entire complexion of the contest.

After getting a routine pop up to center field, Deverman stabbed a come-backer to the mound, and was able to catch the lead runner at third base too far off the bag for the second out of the inning.  He then induced a pop up to right field, and after that, UE’s offense took over.

After a walk and a pop up, Taubert and Shallenberger followed with back-to-back base hits to load the bases with one out.  Fougerousse then launched his eighth home run of the year to right field for a grand slam to give UE a 4-0 lead.  UE would add another run later in the frame on an RBI single by junior first baseman Cal McGinnis to grab a 5-0 cushion through three innings.

From there, Deverman shut down the Redbirds, allowing just a walk and a single through the next four innings.  Shallenberger helped Deverman out with a line-drive two-run home run to right-center field in the fourth inning, before Fougerousse added an RBI ground out in the sixth inning to push the lead to 8-0.  A run-scoring wild pitch in the seventh inning would cap UE’s scoring, while Illinois State would get down to its final out before tacking on a run in the ninth inning to provide the final score.

Deverman improved to 4-1 on the season by tossing 7.0 scoreless innings, while allowing four hits and two walks with five strikeouts.  Shallenberger went 4-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI, while Taubert and Fougerousse both went 2-for-4, with Taubert scoring three runs and Fougerousse adding five RBI.

With the victory, Evansville improves to 16-17 overall and 5-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference.  Illinois State, meanwhile, falls to 18-13 overall and 7-3 in the MVC with the loss.  The series will continue on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., with graduate left-hander Donovan Schultz (1-1, 7.59 ERA) scheduled to start for the Purple Aces.  Saturday’s game can be heard live in the Tri-State area on 107.1 FM-WJPS and can be seen live on ESPN+.