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Evansville edges No. 16 national seed East Carolina 6-5 to win Greenville Regional

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Mark Shallenberger hit a go-ahead three-run home run, Max Hansmann pitched four innings of shutout relief and Evansville beat No. 16 national seed East Carolina 6-5 on Monday, winning the Greenville Regional and punching a ticket to the Purple Aces' first super regional.

Evansville (38-24) earns its first regional championship and will travel to play No. 1 overall seed Tennessee in the best-of-three Knoxville Super Regional, beginning Friday or Saturday.

Kip Fougerousse homered for a sixth straight game to give Evansville a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Fougerousse, who has hit home runs in eight of the Purple Aces' last nine games, sent a 1-0 pitch from Corey Costello over the fence in center field. His blast was his 21st, tying the school's record for a single season.

Chase Hug walked to lead off the second, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error down the right-field line by Pirates catcher Justin Wilcoxen for a 2-0 lead.

East Carolina answered with Jacob Jenkins-Cowart’s two-out, two-run single to pull even in the bottom of the inning. Carter Cunningham had a one-out double and Ryley Johnson followed with a single to set the table for Jenkins-Cowart.

The Pirates took a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth, but Evansville got a run back in its half when Simon Scherry led off with a double, took third on a single by Shallenberger and scored on a groundout by Fougerousse.

Ty Rumsey and Scherry had back-to-back singles with one out in the sixth before Shallenberger homered to right-center field on a 1-1 pitch from Zach Root (6-2) to give Evansville the lead for good. Rumsey chased down a ball off the bat of Cunningham at the wall in right center with two on and two out in the eighth to preserve the lead.

Shallenbarger's home run was his 17th of the season and the 38th of his career — good for third place on the Aces' all-time list.

Hansmann (2-1) allowed just one hit and three walks after taking over for starter Nick Smith. Shane Harris pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.

Evansville knocked East Carolina into the losers' bracket with a 4-1 victory on Friday. The Pirates came back to thump the Purple Aces 19-7 on Sunday to force another game. East Carolina stayed alive by beating VCU 10-7 earlier Sunday.

East Carolina has won seven regional championships — most recently in 2022 — but never advanced to the College World Series. All seven titles have come since 2001.

Evansville was playing in its sixth NCAA Tournament and first since 2006. The Purple Aces have never been to the CWS.

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AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports