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Evansville beats No. 1 Tennessee: 'Hands down the greatest win in our school’s history.'

Evansville's Purple Aces aren't going home yet.

Although they faced adversity at the start and finish, the Aces defeated No. 1 Tennessee 10-8 in Game 2 of the Knoxville Super Regional on Saturday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. A winner-take-all contest will be played 6 p.m. EST, Sunday on ESPNU for the chance to go to the Men's College World Series.

Evansville is the first regional four-seed to beat a No. 1 national seed in the NCAA baseball tournament. Previously those teams were 0-30. And now its sights are set on being the fourth regional four-seed to move on to Omaha.

“I think it will go down as hands down the greatest win in our school’s history for a program I’m extremely proud of,” coach Wes Carroll told reporters during his postgame news conference. “I bleed purple and it’s great to experience that as the head baseball coach at UE.”

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Evansville's Chase Hug (11) and Evansville's Cal McGinnis (7) celebrate a home run by McGinnis during game two of the NCAA baseball tournament Knoxville Super Regional between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Saturday, June 8, 2024.
Evansville's Chase Hug (11) and Evansville's Cal McGinnis (7) celebrate a home run by McGinnis during game two of the NCAA baseball tournament Knoxville Super Regional between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

The Volunteers hadn't allowed 10 runs in an NCAA tournament game in 23 years, nor had they relinquished a four-run lead in 141 straight games. Plus, they had just defeated UE 11-6 on Friday afternoon.

UE (39-25) faced Tennessee without star center fielder and North graduate Ty Rumsey after he left Game 1 with an injury from crashing into the wall. Harrison Taubert started in place, but the Vols (54-12) struck gold with three solo shots in the first inning. Donovan Schultz, who won his previous three starts on the mound, left the bases loaded and exited after just 1 1/3 innings after allowing four earned runs, four hits, two walks and two strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Aces didn't register a hit until the fourth inning. But their bats came alive when it mattered most.

Kip Fougerousse had a three-hit day at the plate as he broke the program's hits (94) and home run (22) single-season records. Chase Hug extended UE's Division I lead of 159 doubles this season.

At the center of the rally was Cal McGinnis, who recorded three hits and smacked a momentum-changing home run in the fourth, his second in as many days. He later delivered the Aces their first lead of the game in the fifth. Brendan Hord added a two-run bomb to left in the sixth while Brent Widder recorded his first hit of the super regional with an RBI single.

The Evansville dugout celebrates a home run by Evansville's Kip Fougerousse (18) during game two of the NCAA baseball tournament Knoxville Super Regional between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Saturday, June 8, 2024.
The Evansville dugout celebrates a home run by Evansville's Kip Fougerousse (18) during game two of the NCAA baseball tournament Knoxville Super Regional between Tennessee and Evansville held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

“We were the Aces who like to have fun and are loose coming to the yard,” Carroll said. “In an elimination game, that’s a great feeling to have. It really is whenever you know your team is ready.”

The relievers stepped up to contain Tennessee's explosive offense. Despite giving up a two-out RBI double in the fifth, Jakob Meyer pitched three-plus scoreless innings and retired nine of his first 11 batters to ultimately earn the victory.

Although Boonville graduate Nick Smith surrendered three earned runs in the top of the ninth, North Posey product Shane Harris was able to close the door and pick up his third postseason save, leaving the bases loaded.

Tennessee is the third ranked team UE has taken down this postseason. The Aces seek to become the first Missouri Valley Conference team to play in a College World Series since Wichita State in 1996.

One win stands between the Purple Aces and Omaha. What a run this has been, and it's not over yet.

“This team doesn’t surprise me anymore," Carroll said, "they just don’t."

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Evansville baseball shocks No. 1 Tennessee in NCAA super regional