June 15, 2024

ECU Baseball Coach Cliff Godwin after the game 2 win over UNC in  Fayetteville - YouTubeBaseball Aces Win Greenville Regional with 6-5 Decision over #16 East Carolina

GREENVILLE, N.C. –  The University of Evansville baseball team became just the ninth No. 4 seed to win an NCAA Tournament Regional on Monday afternoon, as 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 tremendous moment for our program!” said UE head coach Wes Carroll.  “I thought that Nick Smith did a tremendous job of setting the tone for us today, and then what Max Hansmann and Shane Harris was able to do out of the pen was really special.  Offensively, we had guys step up once again, and what a great bounce-back performance from last night.  Our guys never wavered this weekend, and they represented the University and this program so well, and I couldn’t be more proud of them for that.

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

Senior starter Nick Smith kept East Carolina scoreless for 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 designated hitter Kip Fougerousse continued his torrid stretch with a long solo home run to dead center field in the first inning to not only give UE the lead, but also tie the Evansville 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 plate its second run of the contest in the second inning.  The Pirates would rebound with two runs in the third inning to tie the game, but Smith kept the score tied 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 base hit, before sophomore reliever Max Hansmann (2-1) would come on to shut down the inning with ECU leading 5-2.  Evansville would immediately respond with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a lead-off double by senior shortstop Simon Scherry, a single by graduate outfielder Mark Shallenberger, and an RBI ground out by Fougerousse to trim 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 to give UE a 6-5 lead.  From there, Hansmann would retire six of the next eight ECU batters to keep the score at 6-5 going into the ninth inning.  Senior reliever Shane Harris then came out of the UE bullpen and set down the Pirates in order to earn his third save of the year and help UE secure its 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 on his way to earning the Greenville (N.C.) Regional Tournament Most Outstanding Player honor.  Scherry and Widder also had two hits each for UE, which improves to 38-24 overall with the victory and advances on to the Super Regional round to face national No. 1 seed, Tennessee.

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

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

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