Purple Aces sweep Jackrabbits

Dave Eggen/Inertia Sports Media

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Evansville scored nine runs in the bottom of the second inning and went on to defeat South Dakota State, 14-8, securing a series sweep in nonconference baseball action Sunday afternoon at Charles H. Braun Stadium.

The Purple Aces improved to 16-11 overall. SDSU dropped to 7-17 on the season.

Evansville sent 14 men to the plate in the fateful second inning that was highlighted by a grand slam by Eric Roberts. Brent Widder and Kenton Crews contributed run-scoring doubles earlier in the frame, leading to an early exit for SDSU starter Owen Bishop.

The Jackrabbits responded with one of their biggest innings of the season, scoring five times in the top of the third as they sent 10 men of their own up to bat. Luke Ira and Derek Hackman plated the first two runs with back-to-back singles, while Landon Badger added a run-scoring hit two batters later. After a sacrifice fly by Drew Beazley brought SDSU to within 9-4, Garrett Stout collected the Jackrabbits’ sixth hit of the inning, a single that drove in Ryan McDonald for the fifth and final run of the frame.

Danny Borgstrom extended the Evansville lead with a pair of home runs in the late innings. His two-run blast in the sixth inning pushed the Purple Aces’ lead to 12-5, while his solo home run with one out in the home half of the eighth completed the scoring for UE. Borgstrom was 4-for-5 to pace Evansville’s 13-hit effort.

SDSU scored in each of the final two innings, putting a pair of ruins on the board in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Hackman and an RBI single by McDonald. Hackman tallied his third RBI of the game with a double down the right-field line in the ninth that scored Jordan Sagedahl.

The Jackrabbits tied a season-high with 15 hits as six different players recorded two hits apiece.

Nate Holliday allowed one run over three innings of relief for SDSU.


The Jackrabbits are scheduled to play their home opener Friday (April 9), hosting Omaha in a doubleheader. Action is set for a noon start at Erv Huether Field.


Evansville has won all six matchups in the all-time series. ... SDSU tallied double figures in hits for the fifth time this season and matched the 15 hits in the team recorded in the first game of a March 26 doubleheader at Western Illinois. ... Both Hackman (two hits, two walks) and Jess Bellows (two hits, two HBP) reached base four times. ... Hackman has reached base safely in 22 of the 23 games he has played this season. Hackman recorded his team-leading seventh multi-hit game and fourth-multi RBI game of 2021. ... Stout and Bellows each batted .385 (5-for-13) in the series. ... The Jackrabbits turned two double plays in the game. ... SDSU stranded 14 runners in the game. ... The Jackrabbits were out-homered in the series, 8-0.


Game 1

 Evansville 3, SDSU 2

After a leadoff single to begin the game, Drew Beazley retired seven of the next eight batters faced in his first collegiate start. Ryan Bourassa kept the shutout alive, striking out four batters and allowing just two hits in three innings of relief. 

Evansville’s Caleb Reinhardt retired the first 16 SDSU batters. The perfect game bid ended on an Owen Bishop single to left field in the top of the sixth inning. The base hit started a rally of three hits and a fielder’s choice by the bottom third of the SDSU lineup to break the scoreless tie. 

Ryan McDonald drove in Drake Frazier on a single to left field in the top of the seventh to put the Jacks up 2-0. 

Looking for one last opportunity, Evansville came back in the bottom of the seventh with three runs, capped off by a walk-off solo home run by Troy Beilsmith to end the game. 

Beazley struck out three batters, allowed two hits and one walk in three innings. 

Game 2

 Evansville 11, SDSU 1 (7 inn.)

Evansville carried the momentum into the second game as a triple out of the gates, followed by an inside-the-park home run two batters later, gave the Purple Aces a 2-0 early lead. 

Cody Carlson found his stride, retiring 11 of the next 13 Evansville hitters to keep the Jacks in reach. The streak ended in the bottom of the fifth when the Purple Aces added a run on three hits and an SDSU error. Carlson escaped further damage by getting out of a bases loaded jam to end the inning. 

The first three SDSU batters of the sixth inning reached base as Drew Beazley’s sacrifice fly gave the Jacks their first run and cut the deficit to 3-1. But with runners at the corners, the inning ended after the Jacks were thrown out at home on a steal attempt. 

Carlson’s day ended in the bottom of the sixth inning as Jack Sullivan took over in relief. Evansville stretched its lead to 4-1 on an RBI single, but Sullivan was able to complete the inning and strand two runners. 

The Purple Aces broke the game open on a seven-run bottom of the seventh inning, which included a game-winning three-run home run to enforce the 10-inning rule. 


 Evansville 13, SDSU 3 (8 inn.)

Evansville shortstop Simon Scherry drove in five runs, four of which came on a game-ending grand slam, to lead the Purple Aces to a 13-3, eight-inning victory over the Jackrabbits.

Early on, the game appeared as though it would be a pitchers’ duel between SDSU’s Adam Mazur and Evansville’s Shane Gray. A freshman right-hander, Mazur did not allow a hit his first time through the lineup, striking out seven.

The Jackrabbits scored first, putting a run on the board in the top of the second. Landon Badger doubled and advanced to third base on an error before Drew Beazley lined a run-scoring single to left-center field.

Evansville took the lead with a three-run bottom of the fourth. Troy Beilsmith singled in the first run of the inning and scored the go-ahead run on a groundout by Scherry. The third and final run of the inning came across on a ground-rule double by Eric Roberts.

The Purple Aces added two runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings. Beilsmith plated the fifth-inning runs with his second hit of the game, while Kenton Crews accounted for both sixth-inning scores with a double.

SDSU trimmed the deficit to 7-3 with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh. After Derek Hackman walked, Drake Frazier and Luke Ira hit back-to-back doubles, with both Hackman and Frazier scoring on Ira’s two-bagger down the right-field line. Frazier and Ira each tallied two of the Jackrabbits’ eight hits, as did Beazley.

Evansville ended the game via the 10-run rule with a six-run eighth inning. Crews, who was 3-for-4 to lead the Purple Aces’ nine-hit effort, hit a two-run home run ahead of Scherry’s game-ending grand slam

Mazur struck out nine over five innings in a losing effort. Riley McSherry added three strikeouts for the Jackrabbits in a scoreless inning of relief.

For UE, Gray ended the night with 10 strikeouts over five innings of one-run baseball.


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