EVANSVILLE, Ind. –  The University of Evansville baseball team used seven strong innings from graduate starter Donovan Schultz and three home runs to grab an 8-4 lead early on Saturday, and then the Purple Aces held off a hard-charging Missouri State squad to post an 8-7 victory at German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium in Evansville.

“We found a way today in a pretty wild game,” said UE head coach Wes Carroll.  “The wind was definitely a factor today, as the ball was really flying well, but thankfully, we were able to take advantage of it and grab an early lead.  And, outside of one inning, I thought that Donovan Schultz was spectacular on the mound to help us earn another series victory.

“We have to come to the park ready to compete tomorrow, as I know that Missouri State will be ready to try and salvage a game on the weekend.”

Schultz equaled a career-high with 7.0 innings of work for the fourth-straight start on Saturday, and he had only one bad inning.  Missouri State first baseman Cody Kelly hit an opposite-field three-run home run to left field to open the scoring, before third baseman Curry Sutherland took advantage of the wind blowing out to left field to add a solo home run in a four-run second inning.

From there, Schultz buckled down and retired 11 of the next 12 men he faced, with the only batter who reached base doing so on an error.  His teammates quickly tied the game in the third inning, taking advantage of the wind as well.

Graduate catcher Brendan Hord opened the scoring in the third inning with a solo home run that took advantage of the wind to left-center field.  Senior shortstop Simon Scherry then followed with a no-doubt home run to left field to cut Missouri State’s lead to 4-2.  Senior outfielder Kip Fougerousse then tied the game three batters later with a laser-shot two-run home run down the left-field line to tie the game at 4-4.

UE would take the lead for good in the fourth inning on a two-run double off the wall in center field by Hord.  After a single by Scherry, Hord would score on a run-scoring fielder’s choice by junior outfielder Harrison Taubert to push the lead to 7-4.  UE would add another run in the fifth inning on another run-scoring fielder’s choice by Scherry to take an 8-4 lead.

Schultz (3-1) would take the 8-4 lead through seven innings, as he held the Bears to the four runs on just five hits.  Missouri State would quickly strike for three runs in the eighth inning though against the UE bullpen on a pair of home runs by Zack Stewart and Dylan Leach to cut the UE lead to 8-7.  Senior Jakob Meyer would come on though to get out of the eighth inning, and then worked a perfect ninth inning with a pair of strikeouts to nail down his third save of the year.

Hord went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI to lead UE offensively.  Scherry and graduate third baseman Brent Widder also had two-hit afternoons, while Scherry and Fougerousse both added two RBI.

With the victory, Evansville improved to 24-18 overall and 12-5 in the MVC, as the Purple Aces earned their fifth-straight MVC series victory.  Overall, UE has won 15 of its last 18 games.  Missouri State, meanwhile, dropped to 17-24 overall and 6-11 in the MVC with the loss.  The series will conclude on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., as senior right-hander Shane Harris (4-4, 3.27 ERA) is expected to get the start.