Battling back from an early deficit, a late surge from the University of Evansville baseball team helped the Aces capture a 13-6 series-opening win over Valparaiso on Friday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field in Valparaiso, Ind.
"Great come from behind win for us today. Dug ourselves a hole down 5-0, but grinded out a couple of big innings," said Aces head baseball coach Wes Carroll. "Eric Roberts had a big day with 5 RBI's and it was great to our offense step up in the first game of a weekend series. We need to be ready to play 1st pitch tomorrow."
The Aces were tasked with overcoming an early deficit as Valpo pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first and three more in the second, all unearned that were generated following errors.
The battle back began in the fourth as Danny Borgstrom doubled to left center, scoring Simon Scherry. Following Borgstrom's double, Eric Roberts drove a two-run home run to right, narrowing Valpo's lead to just two at 5-3.
Valpo added an insurance run on a solo home run in the sixth, but Evansville had all the answers in the next two innings. A leadoff single from Brent Widder started what would be an explosive inning for Evansville. After a groundout advanced Widder to second, Valpo pulled starting pitcher Ryan Mintz. Evansville responded with back-to-back walks from Ben Komonosky and Troy Beilsmith to load the bases and force another change on the mound for the home team.
With the bases loaded, Tanner Craig pushed the Aces closer with a base hit to left, scoring Widder. Kenton Crews then tied the game with a bases loaded walk.
Continuing to bat with full bases, Simon Scherry was hit by a pitch, scoring Beilsmith and giving the Aces their first lead at 7-6 with still just one out. After an Evansville pop up put two outs on the board following another pitching change, Roberts added to his RBI total with a bases-clearing double, scoring three runs before being thrown-out trying to stretch his hit to a triple as the Aces earned a 9-6 lead.
The momentum continued to favor Evansville in the eighth as four-straight Aces reached base to open the inning. The bases were loaded following a pair of walks and a base hit, which Beilsmith took advantage of, ripping a double down the left field line, scoring Widder and Wilkes. Komonosky scored off a wild pitch during the next at bat and Crews flew out to right, scoring Beilsmith as the Aces took a 13-6 lead.
Starter Shane Gray's day came to an end prior to the eighth inning, completing his outing with seven innings of work, allowing just one earned run and tallying three strikeouts.
Drew Dominik came on in relief and allowed just one hit over the final two innings, while recording a pair of strikeouts, inducing a double play to end the game in the ninth to hand Evansville a 13-6 win.
Evansville and Valparaiso return to the field on Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at Noon at Emory G. Bauer Field in Valparaiso, Ind.