Falling in the opening game of the doubleheader, Jake McMahill pitched a commanding performance on the mound in game two as Evansville earned a split of a Saturday doubleheader with a 4-2 game two victory, following the 3-0 loss in game one.
"Great bounce back win in game two today. Our pitching staff did a great job all day against a very tough balanced offensive lineup," said Aces head baseball coach Wes Carroll. "Getting a base clearing double from Tanner in the first is so important for our team as McMahill competed for six innings. This sets up for a very important MVC game tomorrow."
Game One: Missouri State 3, Evansville 0
A pitcher's duel emerged in the opening game of the the day's doubleheader as the story was the two starters, especially in the first half of the seven-inning contest. Evansville's Caleb Reinhardt and Missouri State's Matt Russell both glided through the opening three innings of the game with just two batters reaching base combined.
In the fourth, the Bears struck first with two outs. A Ben Whetston walk was capitalized on by Missouri State as Jaden Rolffs promptly doubled to center to give the Bears a 1-0 advantage. Evansville looked to answer in the bottom half, but Danny Borgstrom's double down the left field line with one out was the lone offense in the inning for the Aces.
Missouri State again threatened in the fifth, loading the bases with two outs, but Reinhardt struck-out Grant Wood to end the Bears chance.
The Bears would not be held off long though as Missouri State scored twice more in the sixth on a two-run homer by Drake Baldwin that elevated the Bears lead to 3-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, Evansville again created chances with one out as Mark Shallenberger ripped a dropped a double down the left field line, but Missouri State closed-out the inning with back-to-back outs to earn the 3-0 win.
Game Two: Evansville 4, Missouri State 2
Unlike the first game, Evansville's offense jumped all over the Bears early in game two. In the bottom of the first, the Aces drew three-straight walks, loading the bases for Tanner Craig. The junior began what would prove to be a strong performance at the plate in the second game by lifting a double to left center, clearing the bases and handing Evansville a 3-0 lead in the first.
McMahill tip-toed his way through the first four innings, finding himself in slight jams, but finding the right pitch at the right time to hold the Bears off the board. Evansville added another run in the bottom of the fourth as Craig recorded his second-straight double to lead-off the inning. After Shallenberger walked, Brent Widder laid down a well-executed sacrifice bunt to move the pair into scoring position. Brinkley sent another run home for the Aces with a sacrifice fly to center that saw Craig score.
McMahill finished the day after the sixth, pitching six scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking-out three. After the redshirt junior exited the contest, Missouri State began to find a rhythm at the plate. With one out in the seventh, the Bears recorded a walk, a single, and another walk in three-straight at bats to load the bases. But as has been true much of the season so far, Evansville's defense provided a much needed play, getting Whetstone to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Missouri State scored a run in the eighth, setting-up an interesting ninth inning as Jakob Meyer came in to close for the Aces. Back-to-back base-hits to open the ninth brought the game-tying run to the plate with no outs. A double play again proved huge for Evansville as Wood grounded into the 6-4-3 double play, leaving the Bears to their final out. A wild pitch in the next at bat, scored a second run on the afternoon for the Bears, closing the gap to 4-2. Whetstone then was walked, again bringing the tying run to the plate. Rolffs appeared to have tied the game in the ninth with a long drive to left, but Shallenberger sprinted to the track, leaping to make a grab before crashing into the wall, ending the game with a 4-2 Aces win.
Evansville and Missouri State close-out the four-game series at German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium on Sunday at 1 PM in Evansville.