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Aces open MVC tournament with rousing victory over SIU

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Nick Smith

Getting a strong start from junior starting pitcher Nick Smith, as well as timely hitting, the University of Evansville baseball team opened the Missouri Valley Conference tournament with a 7-3 victory over Southern Illinois Wednesday morning at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, Indiana.

After falling behind early, the Aces responded with a 2-run home run off the bat of sophomore catcher Evan Waggoner in the second inning, giving Evansville a 2-1 lead. 

The Salukis would scratch across single runs in the fourth and sixth innings against Smith to grab a 3-2 lead, but Evansville once again answered back with four runs in the seventh inning to grab a lead it would never lose.  The Purple Aces took advantage of some wildness from SIU in the frame, as UE loaded the bases with a hit-by-pitch and two walks to open the inning.   

With two strikes against him, Borgstrom came through with a run-scoring fielder’s choice ground ball to tie the game at 3-3.  Rumsey then delivered a sharp single to center field to give UE a 4-3 lead.  A pair of walks would re-load the bases and end up scoring a run, before junior second baseman Kip Fougerousse drove in another run with a two-strike ground ball that SIU’s third baseman couldn’t handle to give UE a 6-3 lead. 

Fougerousse would then tack on an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning with an RBI single to provide the final margin of victory. 

Waggoner went 2-for-3 with a home run, a run scored and two RBI on his birthday to lead UE.  Rumsey also went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI, while Fougerousse drove in a pair of runs.  Smith (5-3) earned the victory for UE on the mound, giving up three runs on seven hits in a career-high 8.0 innings of work with a trio of strikeouts. 

With the victory, Evansville improves to 34-22 overall.  Evansville will now move on to face the winner of the game between No. 2 Missouri State and No. 6 UIC on Thursday night at 6:30 pm CT.

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