Baseball Aces late rally not enough at Murray State


Despite out-hitting Murray State, the University of Evansville baseball team could not come up the key knock in the final frame, as the Purple Aces dropped another heartbreaker on the road, falling to the Racers, 11-9, Wednesday evening at Reagan Field.

Evansville seized the early advantage, as senior catcher Andrew Tanous drove freshman designated hitter Pete Vaccaro in the top of the second inning to tally the icebreaker, making it 1-0 Aces.

UE sophomore starting pitcher David Ellis would give way to the bullpen in the bottom of third, and Murray State caught fire. Junior reliever Hunter Porterfield got tagged for three runs on two hits. Senior right hander Jimmy Ward would be called upon to relieve Porterfield, and would give up four runs to the Racers. Sophomore hurler Nathan Croner would give up one more tally before putting out the fire. However, the Aces would find themselves in a 7-1 hole.

Evansville would respond immediately in the top of the fourth, loading up the bases for junior infielder Sam Troyer, who delivered a bunt single that would clear the bases as a throwing error by the third baseman would allow Craig Shepherd, Andrew Tanous and Pete Vaccaro to all cross the plate, drawing the Aces within three, at 7-4.

After Croner gave a run back to Murray State on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the frame, Evansville sophomore outfielder Troy Beilsmith got it back, ripping an RBI triple to left, scoring Troyer, making the score 8-5 Racers.

Still down three runs in the eighth inning, the Aces would go on a tear. Freshman third baseman Tanner Craig lined a sacrifice fly to center fielder, bringing in Stewart Nelson for one tally. Then, sophomore center fielder Kenton Crews hit a hot shot to shortstop, with the resulting error allowing Sam Troyer to score, drawing Evansville within one, at 9-8. Finally, with two outs, junior outfielder Matt Jones struck out. However, a dropped ball by the Murray State catcher allowed him to take first and let Dalton Horstmeier to tally the equalizer, making it 9-9.

However, in the bottom of the eighth, after Horstmeier, in relief, struck out the first two batters of the inning, allowed the Racers to put the next two batters aboard. Senior closer Ryan Brady came in in relief and proceeded to give up a double down the right field line to second baseman Grant Wood, allowing the go-ahead run to cross. Then an error by Craig, who switched over to first base, would bring in the insurance run for Murray State, making it 11-9 Racers.

Evansville wasn’t finished though, as they loaded up the bases with one out in their final at-bat. However, Horstmeier and Craig struck out to end the would-be rally.

“Dug ourselves too big of a hole, giving up seven runs in one inning”, said University of Evansville head coach Wes Carroll. “Our offense showed great fight to get back in the game, but couldn’t get a zero on the board in winning time to complete the comeback.”

The Purple Aces dropped to 6-16 on the season, while Murray State improves to 15-14.

Up next for Evansville is the Missouri Valley Conference opening series at Missouri State. Game one of the series is slated for Friday at Springfield’s Hammons Field. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.