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Baseball Aces: SUPER REGIONAL BOND!!!

GREENVILLE, NC – The University of Evansville baseball team became just the ninth No. 4 seed to win an NCAA Tournament Regional Monday afternoon when the fourth-seeded Purple Aces outlasted the host and #16 national seed East Carolina Pirates, 6 -5, at Clark-LeClair Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina.

“What a great moment for our program!” said UE head coach Wes Carroll. “I thought Nick Smith did a great job setting the tone for us today, and what Max Hansmann and Shane Harris were able to do from the pen was really special. Offensively we had guys step up again, and what a great performance from last night. Our boys never wavered this weekend, and they represented the university and this program so well, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.

“I also want to thank the people of East Carolina and their fans for a great environment and regional experience. The environment was special and the fans were there at every game, making it a very special baseball weekend.”

Senior starter Nick Smith held East Carolina scoreless through the first two innings on Monday, and his teammates helped give him an early lead with single runs in the first and second innings. Senior design hitter Kip Fougerousse continued his torrid streak with a long solo home run to center field in the first inning, not only giving UE the lead but also tying Evansville’s single-season home run record with his 21st home run of the year. . Fougerousse has now homered in six straight games and in eight of nine games overall.

A walk, a wild pitch, an infield single and a throwing error by ECU helped UE get its second run of the game in the second inning. The Pirates would rebound with two runs in the third inning to tie the game, but Smith kept the score at 2-2 until the fifth inning with four strong innings of work on the mound.

The Pirates would rally for three runs in the fifth inning on just one hit, before sophomore reliever Max Hansmann (2-1) would end the inning with ECU leading 5-2. Evansville would immediately respond with a run in the bottom of the fifth on a leadoff double by senior shortstop Simon Scherry, a single by graduate outfielder Mark Shallenberger and an RBI ground out by Fougerousse to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Shallenberger would then launch one of the most important home runs in UE history in the sixth inning with a three-run blast to right-center field, giving UE a 6-5 lead. From there, Hansmann would retire six of the next eight ECU batters to keep the score at 6-5 through the ninth inning. Senior reliever Shane Harris then came out of the UE bullpen and shut down the Pirates to earn his third save of the year and help UE secure the first regional tournament championship in program history.

Shallenberger went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI to help lead the UE offense. Fougerousse also went 1-for-3 with his fourth home run of the regional tournament en route to earning Greenville (NC) Regional Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Scherry and Widder also had two hits each for UE, which improves to 38-24 overall with the win and advances to the Super Regional round to face national No. 1 seed Tennessee.

Fougerousse earned Most Outstanding Player of the Regional Tournament honors, while Shallenberger, Scherry and freshman pitcher Kenton Deverman were all named to the Greenville (NC) All-Regional Tournament team.

The NCAA will announce the dates and start times for the Super Regional match between Evansville and Tennessee via social media on Tuesday morning. UE and Tennessee have never met before in the sport of baseball.

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