EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The second half of the college baseball regular-season begins this weekend for the University of Evansville baseball team, as the Purple Aces will welcome in Valparaiso to German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium for a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series.

The series begins Friday night at 6 p.m. and continues on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon with 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. contests.  The entire series can be heard live in the Tri-State area on 107.1 FM-WJPS and the Old National Bank/Purple Aces Sports Network from Learfield.

Evansville will begin the second-half of the season with a 17-11 overall record and 3-3 MVC mark, after rallying to beat Purdue, 12-10, on Tuesday night in West Lafayette.  The Purple Aces hit three more home runs on Tuesday night to raise their season total to 42, as UE ranks 48th in the country in home runs entering this weekend’s action.  Fifth-year first baseman Chase Hug went 3-for-4 on Tuesday night to raise his team-leading batting average to .410, while also launching his seventh home run of the year.  Hug currently leads the MVC in batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, and has hit a home run in five of UE’s seven weekend series so far.

Graduate outfielder Eric Roberts continues to lead UE and the MVC in both home runs (12) and RBI (35) this year.  He is trying to join former teammate Tanner Craig as the only two UE players to lead the Valley in both home runs and RBI in a single season in the Purple Aces’ now 29 years in the Valley.  Craig led the MVC in both categories in the COVID-shortened 2020 spring season.

Valparaiso will bring a 9-12 overall record and 1-5 Valley mark into the weekend series.  The Beacons used solid pitching from scheduled Saturday and Sunday starters Nathan Chasey and Bobby Nowak on Monday afternoon to knock off visiting Murray State, 5-2, to earn Valpo’s first Valley win of the year.  Sophomore infielder Nolan Tucker and junior outfielder Kyle Schmack currently lead the Valparaiso offense with .354 and .301 averages, respectively, with Schmack leading the team with four home runs.

The UE-Valparaiso series dates back to 1948, with the Beacons leading the all-time series, 40-25.  UE has led the series, 7-5, since Valparaiso entered the MVC in 2018, though, and since UE made the move to Division I, Evansville has held a 14-8 advantage.  The two teams split a weather-shortened series to close out the 2022 regular-season at Braun Stadium last May, with Evansville winning the opener, 9-2, before Valparaiso answered back with an 8-4 win.

Junior RHP Nick Smith (2-3, 5.35 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Valparaiso RHP Griffin McCluskey (1-4, 6.75 ERA) in Friday night’s series opener.