EVANSVILLE, Ind. –  The University of Evansville baseball team rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday, capped by pinch-runner Drew Howard scoring from third base on a wild pitch for the game-winning run, as the Purple Aces knocked off the visiting Illinois State Redbirds, 6-5, at German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium in Evansville.

“What a win!” said UE head coach Wes Carroll.  “Our offense really went out and got it for us today.  I am just proud of our overall effort today.  Our pitchers did a good job of keeping us in it, and their starter was pretty electric today, but we just kept grinding.  That’s the Aces’ baseball club that we’re accustomed to.”

Illinois State took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning, before Evansville was able to rally for two runs on a two-run single by graduate first baseman Chase Hug to tie the game at 4-4.  The Redbirds once again grabbed the lead in the ninth inning on an RBI double by outfielder J.T. Sokolove, but UE was not done yet.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, junior second baseman Cal McGinnis opened the frame with a single to right-center field.  After a fly out, pinch-hitter Evan Waggoner singled sharply through the left side of the Illinois State infield to put runners on the corners with one out.

A sacrifice fly to right field by senior shortstop Simon Scherry tied the game at 5-5, before junior outfielder Harrison Taubert singled to right field on a 1-2 pitch to send Howard from first to third base with two outs.  Then, after a mound visit, Howard was able to score on a wild pitch on the first pitch to graduate outfielder Mark Shallenberger to give UE the 6-5 win.

Hug led Evansville offensively by going 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBI.  McGinnis also had two hits for UE and scored two runs.  Three Illinois State hitters had two-hit days at the plate.

With the victory, Evansville gets back to even record-wise at 17-17 and improves to 6-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference.  Illinois State, meanwhile, drops to 18-14 overall and 7-4 in the Valley with the loss.  The series will conclude on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.  Sunday’s game can be heard live in the Tri-State area on 107.1 FM-WJPS and seen live on ESPN+.