NEW ORLEANS (WFIE) – Doing something they have not done since 2006, the University of Evansville baseball team captured a doubleheader sweep of No. 18 Tulane, 5-3 and 5-1, on Saturday in New Orleans, La.
The last time Evansville captured consecutive victories over top 25 opponents came on April 8, 2006 when the Aces defeated No. 21 Wichita State, 2-1 and 7-5.
Great overall team baseball for 18 innings. It started on the mound with great performances from Shane Gray and Nick Smith,” said Aces head baseball coach Wes Carroll. “The bullpen kept the lead while we were able to tack on runs late. Offense had a great plan and delivered with runners in scoring position. Great day to be an Ace.”
On the day, starters Shane Gray and Nick Smith combined to allow just four combined runs and throw 16 strikeouts in their wins. Offensively, the Aces pounded out 20 hits, scoring 10 runs, while defensively, Evansville played flawless ball, going without an error in the 18 innings of the doubleheader.
Game One: Evansville 5, Tulane 3
Evansville fans have been treated to a plethora of impressive performances from Shane Gray in his four seasons as an Ace, but Saturday against the Green Wave might have been one of Gray’s finest in the white and purple. Gray dominated across seven innings of work, allowing just six hits and striking-out nine batters. Until the eighth inning, Gray did not allow a runner to advance past first base.
A patient and calculated approach at the plate paid dividends for Evansville as runs came in spurts and at opportune times for the Aces. Evansville grabbed their first two runs of the day in the third as doubles from Mark Shallenberger and Tanner Craig each drove in a run. Just two innings later, a similar story unfolded with a double from Simon Scherry and a base hit from Brent Widder again providing single runs each for the Aces to double Evansville’s lead to 4-0.
After getting another run in the eighth on an RBI single from Brendan Hord, Gray came back out for his eighth inning of work and ran into trouble for the first time. Tulane would score five runs as Nate Hardman and Jakob Meyer came in and got out of the inning.
In the ninth with Meyer on the mound, the Aces locked down the win as the closer sat the Wave down in order, ending the game with a strikeout looking to secure the 5-3 win.
Game Two: Evansville 5, Tulane 1
The story of game two began much as it did for game one with Evansville riding the momentum earned by its starter on the mound and its stellar defensive effort. Sophomore Nick Smith was dominant on the mound, pitching the first 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and just one run, while punching-out seven.
Much of the Aces offense in game two came from good early inning at bats. Evansville picked-up an early run in the second innings as Danny Borgstrom grounded out, scoring Chase Hug. In the fifth, Evansville added another single run on a sacrifice fly RBI from Craig. Continuing the trend, the Aces grabbed another run on a sac fly RBI from Scherry in the seventh as UE owned a 3-0 lead.
Tulane scratched across its first, and what would be its only, run of the game in the seventh. As the game moved into the ninth, Evansville got a crucial boost it needed with Rumsey scoring on a wild pitch on a strikeout of Craig that prolonged the inning and Widder ripping a double down the line, scoring Scherry to add some insurance and pump the Aces lead to 5-1.
In the bottom of the ninth, Drew Dominik matched the efforts of his teammate Jakob Meyer, striking-out a pair in the final frame and ending the game with a strikeout looking in the 5-1 win.
Evansville closes its road series at No. 18 Tulane with a final game on Sunday at 1 PM in New Orleans, La.
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