Patience at the plate and strong relief pitching proved the difference on Wednesday evening as the University of Evansville Baseball team closed out the current five-game homestand with a 6-1 victory over visiting Austin Peay at Charles H. Braun Stadium.
“Learning how to win in ‘winning time’ has been a big thing for us so far this season,” UE head coach Wes Carroll said. “Tonight, Austin Allinger came in and competed at a high level, and then Ryan Brady continued to keep them off the board and gave us a chance to win. Offensively, we took advantage of the 11 walks, and we tacked on some insurance runs late. Hopefully we can build off of this momentum this weekend.”
After each team traded scores in the third inning, UE (4-8) forged ahead in the fourth. Travis Tokarek was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, and with one out, Korbin Williams would reach on a wild pitch after striking out. Dalton Horstmeier cashed in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, and back-to-back walks to Craig Shepherd and Kenton Crews loaded the bases and brought about an APSU (6-6) pitching change.
From there, John Sparks took the mound for the Governors and issued back-to-back five pitch walks to Conner Hasecuster and Trey Hair to give the Aces the 4-1 advantage.
Ty Thompson was pegged with the loss, dropping to 0-1 on the year.
UE would load the bases once again without recording a hit in the seventh as Tokarek and Horstmeier walks bookended Jimmy Day being hit by an errant pitch to set the stage for Shepherd. The Jasper freshman answered the call, singling up the middle to plate a pair and put the game out of reach for the visitors from Clarksville, Tennessee.
The Aces only collected three hits in the contest, but seven different players recorded at least one walk. Hair led the way with three free passes. Shepherd, Horstmeier, and Stewart Nelson each recorded a hit.
Meanwhile, UE only allowed three hits as the quartet of Alex Weigand, Austin Allinger, Ryan Brady, and Brandon Gomer combined to strikeout 10 hitters. Allinger picked up the win, his first decision of the season, after fanning six without allowing a baserunner over 3.1 innings of work.
UE will return to action this weekend with a three-game set against Campbell in Buies Creek, North Carolina.