'We mean baseball here': Locals fueling Evansville's NCAA tournament super regional run (2024)

Treasure WashingtonEvansville Courier & Press

EVANSVILLE — For decades, the backbone of the University of Evansville baseball program has been its local talent.

This year is no different as the Purple Aces' roster is littered with former Southwestern Indiana prep standouts. Many are playing critical roles during the program's best NCAA Tournament run, which will continue this weekend against No. 1 Tennessee in the Aces' first super regional appearance.

UE (38-24) has taken down two nationally ranked teams this postseason, including No. 16 East Carolina twice during last weekend's Greenville Regional to continue this magical run. Could it knock off another?

"The core guys that we have really strong ties within this community," UE coach Wes Carroll said. "And it's also setting the tone hopefully for the future, the next 10 or 15 years, that the talent around here sees what we're able to accomplish here and wants to be a part of what we're growing and how special of a student-athlete experience they can have here playing baseball."

NCAA Baseball Super Regionals: 5 things to know about Evansville ahead of NCAA super regional vs No. 1 Tennessee

Carroll trusted righties Nick Smith and Shane Harris to deliver on the mound in Monday's winner-take-all regional championship. They combined for three walks and six punchouts in an electric East Carolina atmosphere as Harris picked up his second save of the regional by striking out two Pirates in just nine pitches. He had thrown 81 the day before.

"It's just a surreal feeling going out there in the late game and the crowd's really loud," said Harris, who graduated from North Posey. "I really loved every second of it. I stepped off the mound a couple times to kind of take it all in and remind the little kid in myself that this is why I play and that this is fun."

Harris was emotional seeing Smith start in the championship. While the Boonville graduate and 2022 Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year has battled through injuries this season, he stepped onto the mound and delivered when it mattered most.

"It crept in my mind that, 'Hey, I have 10 guys' career in my hand,'" Smith said. "But I kind of pushed that to the side and kind of went out there and just gave it my all."

Ty Rumsey added: "We all kind of had a feeling that the old Nick Smith was going to show up. It's something special seeing him throw the way that he did."

Heritage Hills graduate Simon Scherry delivered in the leadoff spot with seven hits in the regional while Rumsey, a North product, has thrived on defense. He made one of their biggest highlights of the season with a SportsCenter Top 10 diving catch in center field in the regional opener.

"I've gotten hundreds of texts, DMs on social media and a lot of support from local people and all my family and friends," Rumsey said. "It's a little overwhelming at times, but it's definitely fun and a great experience."

UE is ready to keep the party going in Knoxville, Tennessee, this weekend in a best-of-three series with the top-ranked Volunteers (53-11) starting Friday. The Aces aren't fazed by the environment they're about to step into. They're well-seasoned after last weekend in North Carolina and earlier trips this spring to Oral Roberts, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, among others.

"Going into a big-time stadium like (Mississippi State) kind of prepared us (for Greenville)," Scherry said. "Realizing that we can play on the big stage was a really good memory."

Evansville baseball: This Cinderella run has joined the school's Division I-era Mount Rushmore of wins

The Aces are playing with house money. The program has reached new heights and is in a completely different spot than when some of the players committed — UE had won just 12 games in 2018. They've since won at least 30 in each of the last three seasons, including their first MVC tournament title since 2006 on their home field two weeks ago against Indiana State.

Their efforts have shined a national spotlight on Evansville and Southwestern Indiana as their supporters continue their rallying cry of, "Get Up, Ace Country."

"You get that backing and all the local little league teams that come out on the field and point us out," Smith said. "We were in the same place they were. Stuff like that really makes it the whole bigger picture."

Harris added: "We've got a lot of talent here in Evansville, Indiana. It's just cool to show people that we mean baseball here."

Knoxville Super Regional: Evansville vs. No. 1 Tennessee

Best-of-three format; all times CDT


Game 1: 2 p.m. on ESPN2


Game 2: 10 a.m. on ESPN2


Game 3 (if necessary): 5 p.m. on ESPNU

'We mean baseball here': Locals fueling Evansville's NCAA tournament super regional run (2024)


What is the super regional in college baseball? ›

The 16 winners of the regionals move on to the super regionals, where they are split into eight pairings. These pairings play in a best-of-three series. The eight winners of the super regionals head to the MCWS in Omaha. They are split into two double-elimination brackets, consisting of four teams each.

Who will play in the College World Series 2024? ›

After a decisive Game 3 came down to the final at-bat, Tennessee baseball held off Texas A&M to win its first Men's College World Series in program history. Watch the final out and ensuing celebration from the 2024 MCWS clincher here.

How many games are in the men's college world series? ›

Since the Men's College World Series moved to a best-of-three format to decide the national championship in 2003, the title's come down to a decisive third game 11 times. That includes in 2023, when LSU regrouped from a blowout loss to Florida in Game 2 to rout the Gators in Game 3 and take the title.

What time is the college baseball world series? ›

Game 3 of the Tennessee vs. Texas A&M College World Series Finals will be played on Monday, June 24, 2024 at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT). The game will air on ESPN and stream on Sling TV and the platforms featured below.

Who won the 2024 College Baseball World Series? ›

The 2024 NCAA DI baseball tournament ended in Omaha, Nebraska with Tennessee capturing its first Men's College World Series title in program history. The Vols defeated Texas A&M, 6-5, in Game 3 of the best-of-three final series.

How many NCAA baseball teams go to Super Regionals? ›

Super Regionals start on June 7 or 8 and end on June 9 or 10 depending on the NCAA Tournament bracket. The top 16 winners from the Regional competition move on to the next round, called the Super Regionals. These 16 winners are divided into 8 pairs and these pairings play in a best-of-three series.

Who is predicted to win the World Series 2024? ›

Not surprisingly, the Dodgers remain the odd-on favorite to win the World Series, as they have all season. Let's take a look at every team's updated 2024 World Series odds at DraftKings Sportsbook as of June 24. A big reason L.A. has been able to keep everything rolling smoothly? Shohei Ohtani, of course.

Has Tennessee ever won a World Series? ›

Here's the photos that prove it. The Tennessee Vols baseball team is at the top of their game after securing the 2024 College World Series title. Tennessee baseball gained its first national title for the program with Monday's 6-5 win over Texas A&M to clinch this season's championship in Omaha, Nebraska.

Who won the World Series baseball in 2024? ›

Tennessee held off Texas A&M baseball, 6-5, to win its first Men's College World Series championship in program history, highlighted by Zander Sechrist's seven strikeouts and Dylan Dreiling's third home run of the finals. Watch the extended highlights from the Vols' 2024 MCWS clincher here.

Who has won the most men's College World Series? ›

The Trojans have won 12 national championships, including five straight from 1970-74. LSU ranks second with seven titles, while Texas follows with six. The Tennessee Volunteers took home the 2024 MCWS title after defeating the Texas A&M Aggies. Here's a look at all-time Men's College World Series Division I champions.

Has Texas A&M ever won the College World Series? ›

Texas A&M has made 33 NCAA tournament appearances, advancing to the College World Series seven times, in 1951, 1964, 1993, 1999, 2011, 2017, and 2022. The Aggies have never won a national championship in baseball.

Has Tennessee ever won a national championship? ›

OMAHA, Neb. (WATE) — Tennessee baseball is bringing a national championship back to Rocky Top for the first time in program history. The Vols defeated Texas A&M in game three of the College World Series Finals by a score of 6-5 to capture Tennessee's first championship in any sport since 2009.

How much are College World Series tickets? ›

Tickets start at $46 on StubHub, with seating options available in the lower bowl, the outfield and higher levels. Tickets behind home plate (Sections 110 to 114) are currently going for anywhere between $186 to $369 on StubHub as well.

Who leads the College World Series? ›

USC has won 12 Men's College World Series championships. LSU is alone in second with seven after winning the title in 2023. Texas follows with six. Arizona State has won five.

How many innings is a College World Series game? ›

Under normal circ*mstances, baseball games universally are a minimum of nine innings — including college baseball. There are no time limits on college baseball games, however, which means the games can have a wide variety of times for completion.

How do you qualify for NCAA regionals? ›

The top 36 teams make regionals. There are four regional hosts with nine teams at each. Two teams compete in round one on Wednesday or Thursday while the remaining seven get a round-one bye and automatically advance to round two.

How many teams make d3 regionals? ›

INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division III Baseball Committee has announced the 60 teams that will compete in the 2024 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship. Of the 16 regional sites played Friday-Sunday, May 17-19, four teams will compete at fourteen regional sites and two teams will compete at two regional sites.

Why is Omaha the home of the College World Series? ›

Why is the College World Series played in Omaha? The first three years of the CWS weren't played in Nebraska. It spent two seasons in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a season in Wichita, Kansas. The current home can thank former Omaha mayor Johnny Rosenblatt, along with a group called "the founding fathers" in local circles.

How does the world series work? ›

In order to determine the champion of Major League Baseball in the U.S. and Canada, the winners from the National League and the American League play the "World Series." The Series consists of seven games. If a team wins four out of the seven games, they are the champions.


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