EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Evansville graduate students Eric Roberts (Hamilton, Ohio/Hamilton) and Jarrett Blunt (Ottumwa, Iowa/Ottumwa) have swept this week’s Missouri Valley Conference weekly awards, as Roberts has been named the Valley’s Player of the Week, while Blunt earned Pitcher of the Week honors.
Roberts earned his second MVC Player of the Week honor on Monday after an historic week at Indiana and UIC which saw him break the UE single-season record for home runs, and also hit for the cycle. Roberts blasted four home runs in four games last week to run his season total to a league-best 21, which broke the UE single-season record of 20, set by Ed Kothera back in 1987.
Roberts also produced one of the best individual games in school history on Thursday night, as he hit for just the second cycle in UE’s Division I era, including launching a grand slam and earning a walk in the Purple Aces’ 9-8 win at UIC. The grand slam cycle is a first for UE in its record books, and it is a feat so rare that it has been accomplished just nine times in Major League Baseball history. Roberts also threw out two runners on the base paths from his position in right field in the contest.
For the week, Roberts hit .471 (8-for-17) with a double, a triple, four home runs, seven RBI, and seven runs scored, while slugging 1.353 and posting a .526 on-base percentage.
Blunt captured his first MVC Pitcher of the Week honor on Monday after a strong performance on the mound to help UE clinch the No. 4 seed in this week’s MVC Tournament. Making just his fourth start of the year, Blunt threw a career-best 7.0 innings in Saturday’s 2-1 UE victory at UIC. He allowed just a single run in the first inning, and five hits total to a UIC squad which entered the weekend leading the Valley in scoring average at 7.1 runs per game. Blunt also struck out seven men, as he has now struck out 27 men over his last four appearances. Blunt’s previous high for innings pitched was just 5.0.
Roberts, Blunt and the Purple Aces will open MVC Tournament play on Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. central time against No. 3 seed Southern Illinois at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, Indiana. Wednesday’s game can be seen live on ESPN+ and heard live in the Tri-State area on 107.1 FM-WJPS and the Old National Bank/Purple Aces Sports Network from Learfield.