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Evansville baseball battles, but drops NCAA super regional opener to No. 1 Tennessee

The University of Evansville Purple Aces showed what they had against the No. 1 team in the country and fought until the last pitch.

Still, the Aces fell 11-6 to top-ranked Tennessee in the Knoxville Super Regional opener Friday afternoon at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. They play again Saturday at 10 a.m. CDT on ESPN2 in this best-of-three series, as UE (38-25) is eliminated while the Volunteers (54-11) can book a trip to the College World Series with a win.

UE’s offense yielded important hits to stay in contention, but also struckout sixteen times. Still, the tying run was on deck in the ninth as the Aces loaded the bases but were unable to rally further. North graduate Ty Rumsey also left the game with a shoulder injury while trying to make another impressive catch, and the Aces made a costly mistake that proved beneficial for one of the nation’s top offenses.

Cal McGinnis (7) of Evansville celebrates with his teammates after hitting a two-run home run during an NCAA baseball tournament Knoxville Super Regional game between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday, June 7, 2024.Cal McGinnis (7) of Evansville celebrates with his teammates after hitting a two-run home run during an NCAA baseball tournament Knoxville Super Regional game between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday, June 7, 2024.

Cal McGinnis (7) of Evansville celebrates with his teammates after hitting a two-run home run during an NCAA baseball tournament Knoxville Super Regional game between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday, June 7, 2024.

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The Volunteers struck out the side to open the game and then struck first on a solo home run in the first inning. UE countered with Cal McGinnis’ two-run homer in the second, but the Vols brought UE starter Kenton Deverman deep twice more in the third. Deverman, the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year, allowed six hits, three walks and seven earned runs while striking out two in 4 2/3 innings.

UE was still never out as Chase Hug, McGinnis and Heritage Hills product Simon Scherry were swinging hot bats. Hug led off the second inning with a standup double and later tied the game in the fifth with an RBI single. McGinnis’ home run extended the Aces’ single-season home run record to 93.

Evansville's Chase Hug (11) celebrates after hitting a double during an NCAA Baseball Tournament Knoxville Super Regional game between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday, June 7, 2024.Evansville's Chase Hug (11) celebrates after hitting a double during an NCAA Baseball Tournament Knoxville Super Regional game between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday, June 7, 2024.

Evansville’s Chase Hug (11) celebrates after hitting a double during an NCAA Baseball Tournament Knoxville Super Regional game between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Friday, June 7, 2024.

In addition, Kip Fougerousse hit a two-out, two-run double in the fifth, Scherry has recorded at least one hit in every NCAA tournament game and Mark Shallenberger, who was hit by a pitch for the 27th time, erased the deficit in the second collection. ninth with an RBI single.

North Posey graduate Shane Harris replaced Deverman on the mound, recording three strikeouts, but also gave up three runs in the seventh and the Aces couldn’t come back from there. Tennessee scored 11 runs on just nine hits, four of which were home runs, giving the Vols 163 on the season – second all-time in NCAA history.

The Missouri Valley Conference tournament champions are still aiming to become the fourth No. 4 seed to advance to the Men’s College World Series, following Oral Roberts last season. UE is the ninth team to play in a super regional as the fourth seed.

This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Evansville baseball drops NCAA super regional opener to Tennessee

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