Junior left-hander Nathan Croner made his first start of the season and escaped a first inning jam unscathed. However, Croner wasn’t as lucky in the second frame, as the Bears struck for five runs, capped by Kel Johnson’s 3-run home run.
The Aces would respond quickly with the long ball. Freshman designated hitter A.J. Fritz got Evansville on the scoreboard in the third inning with a 2-run homer to left, drawing UE within three. Senior outfielder Nate Reeder would follow that up with a 2-run round-tripper in the fifth frame, getting the Aces back within one, 5-4.
Nathan Croner would bounce back from his early issues to toss back-to-back scoreless innings, but in the bottom of the fifth, he would issue a lead-off walk, followed by a double, ending his day. Freshman right-hander Shane Gray would come in in relief, but couldn’t get out of the jam, as Mercer puts two more tallies across, making it 7-4 Bears. However, Gray would recover to keep Mercer off the scoreboard the rest of the game.
At the plate, Evansville would keep swinging. In the sixth inning, freshman second baseman Danny Bergstrom would stroke an RBI single back up the middle, driving in senior third baseman Sam Troyer, cutting the Bears’ lead to 7-5.
In the ninth, Nate Reeder would cut into it even further, drilling a lead-off home run to right, his second of the game, getting the Aces back within one. However, that was all the offense UE could muster, dropping the second straight one-run decision to Mercer.
The Aces will look to avoid the sweep tomorrow in the series finale. Coach Carroll will send senior left hander Alex Weigand to the hill. First pitch from OrthoGeorgia Park has been moved up to 11 am Central Time.