TERRE HAUTE, IN (WFIE) - Thanks to unexpected power surge at the plate and clutch pitching, the University of Evansville baseball team earned it's first true road victory of the season and second win in Missouri Valley Conference play, outslugging Indiana State 10-6 Friday night at Bob Warn Field.
The Purple Aces got on the board first, as freshman designated hitter Evan Aders crushed the first home run of his collegiate career off Sycamores starting pitcher Tristan Weaver in the third inning. It was the beginning of a big night for the Jasper, Indiana native, who came into the night batting just .127 for the season.
With school being over, it's kind of freed my mind up a bit", said Aders. "I feel like every year, at the end of the year, you have that end of the season feel. It kind of loosens you up a bit. I think the whole team was feeling that. As for me, I've just been working on my timing, and it worked out for me."
Indiana State would bounce back striking for four runs across the next two innings, as the Aces found themselves in a 4-1 hole after four However, UE would bounce back, spearheaded by Evan Aders, who stroked his second home run of the night in the fifth inning, cutting the deficit to 4-2. Freshman third baseman Tanner Craig followed that up later in the frame with a RBI double, tallying sophomore center fielder Kenton Crews, drawing the Aces within one.
"I'm just so proud of him (Aders). He hasn't been in the lineup in a couple of weeks", said head coach Wes Carroll. "For him to just stay mentally engaged, working on his craft. For him to go up to the plate, just playing carefree baseball, loose and confident. Running into the first one, with just a smile on his face running around the bases, obviously says a lot about how hard he's worked in the classroom throughout the course of the year. Hopefully he can build off it over the last couple games of the year."
Then, in the sixth inning Evansville erupted. It began with senior shortstop Stewart Nelson sending a bases loaded double to the gap in right-center, scoring both Aders and senior catcher Andrew Tanous, giving the Aces a 5-4 lead. A balk would bring in junior right fielder Nate Reeder for an insurance tally, followed by a Kenton Crews ground out, which scored Nelson. Sophomore left fielder Troy Beilsmith capped the five-run eruption with a his seventh home run of the season, and when the smoked cleared Evansville was up 8-4.
Freshman starting pitcher Austin Ruesch went five innings allowing four runs on six hits, while striking out a pair. Sophomore hurler Adam Lukas came in and pitched two innings of shutout work, while senior southpaw Hunter Porterfield allowed a pair of runs in the two frames he tossed.
"Our offense was pretty good", said Carroll. "But if you saw what our pitchers really worked through, they worked through their own problems. We didn't go to the pen. We let Austin Reusch work through that inning. He gave up a two-run knock for some RBIs. The next opportunity he was in, he was able to shut the door. You saw the same thing with Adam Lukas. We got great effort from him and Hunter Porterfield as well."
The Aces would tack on two more runs in the top of the ninth, highlighted by Tanner Craig's third home run in four games, and Evansville was on it's way to a 10-6 victory.
The win improves UE's record to 10-33 on the season and 2-14 in the Missouri Valley Conference, while the loss drops the Sycamores to 24-21 overall and 6-10 in the MVC.
Game two of this three game weekend series is tomorrow back at Bob Warn Field. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. eastern time, 1 p.m. central.