EVANSVILLE, Ind. –  The May stretch run begins this weekend for the University of Evansville baseball team, as the Purple Aces will travel north for a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series against long-time rival Valparaiso at Emory G. Bauer Field in Valparaiso, Indiana.  The series begins Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. and all three games of the series can be heard live in the Tri-State area on 107.1 FM-WJPS.
Evansville will bring a 25-19 overall record and 12-6 MVC mark into the month of May.  UE rallied for a pair of two-run home runs in the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday night to pick up a 7-6 come-from-behind victory at Southeast Missouri State to cap a 14-3 month of April.  Overall, Evansville has won 16 out of its last 20 games entering the month of May, and UE sits in second place in the MVC, just two games back of league-leading Indiana State.
Graduate outfielder Mark Shallenberger was named the MVC Player of the Week on Monday after a week in which he hit .692 for the Purple Aces.  Shallenberger also hit the first of UE’s two ninth-inning home runs on Tuesday at SEMO, as he will enter this weekend’s series leading the MVC in batting average (.391), on-base percentage (.537) and slugging percentage (.733).  Senior shortstop Simon Scherry has also been swinging a hot bat for UE of late, as he has hit an even .500 (8-for-16) over the last four games, and he will enter this weekend’s series just one hit shy of tying former Purple Ace Robbie Minor (2004-07) for tenth place on UE’s career hit chart with 248 hits.
Valparaiso will enter this weekend’s series at 13-29 overall and 5-13 in the MVC.  The Beacons are currently tied for ninth in the Valley standings, and sit two games back of Missouri State for the eighth and final place in the upcoming MVC Baseball Tournament set for May 21-25 at UE’s Charles H. Braun Stadium.  Outfielder Alex Ryan currently leads Valparaiso offensively with a .295 batting average, while fellow outfielder Kyle Schmack is not far behind at .290, while launching a team-best 14 home runs.  While the Beacons enter the weekend last in the league with a .257 team batting average, Valpo exploded for 20 runs last Sunday in a 20-0 victory at UIC.  Graduate right-hander Bryce Konitzer tossed a complete-game, two-hit shutout in the victory to earn MVC Pitcher of the Week honors.
All-time, Valparaiso leads the series over Evansville, 41-27, although the Purple Aces hold a 16-9 series edge since moving to Division I in 1977.  Last year, Evansville won two out of three games over the Beacons at home.  UE has not played at Valparaiso since the 2021 season.
Freshman left-hander Kenton Deverman (6-1, 3.89 ERA) will get the start in Friday’s series opener.  Deverman currently ranks second among NCAA freshmen in victories with six.  He is expected to be opposed by Valparaiso right-hander Kaleb Krier (1-5, 8.10 ERA).