SPRINGFIELD – Missouri State dropped both games of a doubleheader to Evansville Saturday to open Missouri Valley Conference play, falling 12-7 and 7-3 to the Purple Aces at Hammons Field.
Evansville (15-7, 2-0 MVC) hit eight home runs in the two games on the way to its 15th win in 17 outings. The Bears (11-10, 0-2) saw their losing streak hit five games despite hitting .301 in the two contests.
The series concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Game 1 Recap – Evansville won, 12-7
Evansville hit five home runs and took the lead for good with a six-run fifth inning as the teams combined for 19 runs on 27 hits.
The Bears led 2-0 after two batters thanks to a leadoff walk drawn by Nick Rodriguez followed by Spencer Nivens’ eighth home run of the season.
Zack Stewart singled and scored on a Dylan Robertson double in the fourth for a 3-0 lead, but UE sent nine men to the plate in the fifth, capping it with a three-run homer to go ahead 6-3.
Missouri State responded by loaded the bases with no one out in the bottom half and closed to 6-5 on a Cody Kelly sacrifice fly and Mason Hull single, only to see the Aces hit another three-run shot in the next half inning to make it 9-5.
Mason Greer led off the MSU sixth with a double and scored on a Taeg Gollert single, and Hull did the same in the seventh before coming home on a Robertson single to close the margin to 9-7, but Evansville added three solo homers in the last two frames to secure the win.
Rodriguez, Nivens, Hull, Stewart and Robertson all recorded multiple hits for the Bears.
Game 2 Recap – Evansville won, 7-3
Evansville scored seven unanswered after the Bears took a 1-0 lead in the first off a Gollert RBI double, the freshman’s 10th of the season.
UE hit a pair of two-run homers in the third inning and added a solo shot in the fourth, then scored a pair of two-out runs in the fifth frame on an RBI triple that later scored on a dropped third strike that would have been the final out to make it 7-1.
Robertson continued his solid day with a leadoff single in the fifth and scored on a Rodriguez single, and Stewart blasted a solo home run to center to lead off the seventh for the 7-3 final.
Hayden Minton went 3.2 innings in the start, Scott Youngbrandt tossed 2.1 frames and Garrett Ferguson threw three shutout innings with five strikeouts to finish the game.