The University of Evansville baseball team used a five-run fifth inning to defeat Southern Illinois, 8-4, and capture the Missouri Valley Conference series over the Salukis Sunday afternoon at Itchy Jones Stadium in Carbondale, Ill. With the win, the Purple Aces now lead the MVC standings by a full game over second-place Illinois State.
Junior Jarod Perry finished the afternoon 3-for-4 as Evansville's (30-16, 11-4 MVC) nine-hole hitter, as he scored two runs and drove in another. Sophomore Jonathan Ramon also scored twice in a 2-for-4 performance, while senior Jake Mahon and junior Kyle Pollock each notched a pair of RBI.
On the mound, senior Cole Isom (5-4) gave the Aces 7.0 solid innings, as he allowed just three runs, one earned, on five hits. Isom pitched around three walks and struck out one for his fifth victory of the season. Sophomore Brent Jurceka logged the final 2.0 innings on the mound, allowing a run on three hits.
Southern Illinois (22-26, 4-14 MVC) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth an RBI double by Matt Jones, his third of the series, and Saluki starter Aaron Hauge (3-4) allowed just one hit over the first four innings, before UE's bats came alive in the fifth.
Junior Boomer Synek led off Evansville's fifth with a walk and Ramon followed with a single to left, before sophomore Eric McKibban moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Synek was able to scamper home and tie the game on a Hauge wild pitch. Later in the inning, Perry gave the Aces' a 2-1 lead with an RBI single through the left side. With two outs, Mahon delivered an RBI single of his own, before Pollock pushed UE's advantage to 5-1 with a two-run single to right.
SIU got a run back in its half of the fifth by capitalizing on an Evansville error, as Connor Kopach reached on a two-base error, before Jake Welch drove him home with a single up the middle, cutting the margin to 5-2.
The Aces tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top half of the sixth, pushing the score to 7-2, before Southern Illinois once again scored a run following a UE error in the bottom of the seventh, making the score 7-3.
Each team scored a run in the ninth to make the final score 8-4, marking the 30th win of the year for Evansville and the third 30-win campaign for Aces' head coach Wes Carroll in his six-year tenure.
UE will be at home for its next four games, as it will host Belmont on Wednesday, May 7, at 6 p.m., before hosting Illinois State in a pivotal three-game MVC series beginning Friday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at Braun Stadium.
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