NORMAL, Ill. (WFIE) - Tasked with making his first start as an Ace, Zac Cummins pitched well to keep the Aces in the game, but limited offense doomed Evansville in a 3-1 loss in Sunday’s series finale at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill.
”Offense couldn’t provide enough on the 4th game of the weekend. Zac Cummins did a great job in his first start of the season to give us a chance,” said Aces head baseball coach Wes Carroll. “Illinois State didn’t give us a lot of freebies over the last 3 games and our offense just couldn’t create any momentum after Friday’s game.”
The aforementioned Cummins pitched four innings, allowing just one run on two hits, striking-out a pair, limiting the Redbirds advantage to just one midway through.
Evansville’s offense generated eight hits on the day, but left eight runners on base, some coming in critical opportunities. The Aces left runners on the corners with two outs in the fourth, two runners on in the seventh, and got a leadoff double by Robbie Wilkes in the eighth, but went down in order to follow.
Jace Kressin continued the strong day on the mound for the Aces, pitching the fifth, allowing a hit and nothing else. In the sixth, the Redbirds increased their lead with a pair of runs to move in front 3-0.
It was Evansville’s pitching who again helped keep the game close as Jakob Meyer looked strong with a two-inning outing in the seventh and eighth, allowing one base runner on a walk and striking-out two.
A resilient ball club all season, Evansville had one last word in the ninth inning. Mark Shallenberger, who concluded the weekend with a team-best .533 average in the series, walked to open the inning. Danny Borgstrom followed with a base-hit to center. Still with no outs, Tanner Craig snuck a double down the left-field line, scoring Shallenberger to trim the Redbirds lead to 3-1. The tying run standing on second base for Evansville with no outs, Illinois State made a change on the mound, bringing in Derek Salata. The Illinois State reliever ended the Aces threat, inducing a pop-out and getting back-to-back strikeouts to earn the Redbirds the 3-1 win.
Evansville returns to German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium next weekend for a four-game set with Conference-leading Dallas Baptist on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Evansville.