The Eastern Michigan University baseball team traveled to Evansville, IN, over the weekend of Feb. 24-26, for its second three-game series of the season. The team took on the University of Evansville Aces in a series that would see the Eagles (2-4, 0-0 MAC) win 5-2 on Friday, fall 9-7 on Saturday, and drop Sunday’s game by the score of 5-3.
Sophomore Josh Kross continued with his early season success as his bat led the Eagles’ offense over the series that saw the Eagle batter go 5 for 10 at the plate and produced a home run, a double, and bat six runners in total to bring his season number to nine which is tied with graduate student Taylor Hopkins for the most on the team.
Junior Logan Milene made his first career start for EMU in Friday’s game and was able to make an immediate impact when he doubled to deep left-center in the second inning to push Kross across home plate to help the Eagles get out to an early 1-0 advantage. This would be the fourth straight game in which EMU would record a run before the opposition.
Evansville tied the game in the second inning and took the lead, 2-1, in the fourth, but that lead wouldn’t last long as the Eagles would add two runs in the fifth inning thanks to a double from graduate student Matt Kirk and a single from junior Darren Kraft that would both score runners and give EMU a 3-2 edge.
Sophomore Josh Kross added insurance in the eighth inning with the first home run of his career that would add two more runs to the Eagles’ total and the 5-2 difference would be enough to get EMU its first back-to-back wins of the 2023 season.
The Eagles pitchers also had an excellent showing as graduate student Thomas House got the day started on the mound and struck out five Evansville batters in 4.1 innings pitched before senior Luke Russo came in to finish the job in the relief role. Russo (1-0) fanned six batters in his 4.2 innings pitched and was credited with the win.
EMU took their momentum into Saturday’s match as the Eagles got out to a 4-0 lead and were in control for the majority of the game in part due to Kross having yet another impressive day at the plate as he went 3 for 5 in the batter’s box and recorded an extra-base hit and four RBIs.
Senior Nick Chittum got the start on the mound and was responsible for 4.2 scoreless innings pitched, but disaster struck late in the game in the eighth inning when the Aces rallied and scored nine runs on the Eagles bullpen.
The Eagles responded in the ninth with three runs of their own but the comeback effort ultimately fell short as the Aces held on to win the game by two, 9-7.
The final game of the weekend was the first time this season that the Eagles weren’t able to score a run first as EMU fell into a 3-0 hole over the first few innings.
That changed in the fifth inning when senior Blake McRae and junior Cory Taylor both crushed home runs to even the score at 3-3. McRae’s two-run shot goes down as the first home run of his EMU career.
The Eagles were unable to produce any more offense in the remaining innings and the Aces pushed runners across home plate in the seventh and eighth innings to secure the series victory for Evansville as EMU fell by the score of 5-3.
Up next the Eagles will head to Towson, MD, in search of their first series victory of the year as the team will take on Towson University over the weekend of March 3-5. The first game is set for Friday at 2 p.m. and can be viewed on FloBaseball TV.
For more information on the Eastern Michigan baseball team you can listen to "TheBlockE Podcast" weekly for updates on all Eastern Michigan University Athletics.