—UE’s baseball team opens a crucial Missouri Valley Conference series at 6 p.m. today against Missouri State, the MVC’s first-place team. The Bears are known for their pitching, and at 6-6 in league play, the Aces season can still really go anywhere from here. Other game times are 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. This is the final home series of the year.
—Although junior college guard Andell Cumberbatch listed UE in his final two schools before committing to St. Bonaventure Thursday, I’ve heard he didn’t actually hold a formal scholarship offer from the Aces’ staff, which has been selective during the spring signing period about who it will target for two open scholarships. The Cumberbatch decision goes down as just another strange recruiting twist in the social media era.
—Meanwhile, one recruit that does seem a legit prospect for UE is Cowley (Kansas) Community College’s Ben Vozzola. Rivals.com lists an Aces scholarship offer along with one from Wright State for the 6-foot-5 guard, a noted high-major prospect out of high school who attended the University of San Diego as a freshman. Vozzola’s former assistant coach at Cowley, Donnie Jackson, tweeted Thursday night that he’ll take a recruiting visit to UE.
—As UE’s softball team turns its season around — the Aces have won four consecutive series — I profiled the efforts of senior pitcher Sarah Patterson in today’s paper. Patterson is 12-9, accounting for the majority of UE’s 19 wins, and has a perfect game to her credit this season. Her best career stats posted this year came after she chose to transfer from Central Michigan while seeking more playing time.
—UE’s women’s tennis doubles combo of Natasha James and Marketa Trousilova earned top-flight MVC all-conference honors, the league announced today as its conference championships began in Wichita. The duo went 16-3 this season and lost just once in MVC play — a match at Northern Iowa the Aces took as a team anyway. UE was scheduled to start its conference match against Illinois State at 9 a.m.
—UE held its “Lunch With the Aces” fundraiser Thursday at Outback Steakhouse off the Lloyd Expressway and, according to an athletic department tweet, the event raised $5,000 toward the Purple Aces Club’s scholarship fund. There will be a similar fundraiser in May — a golf outing at Quail Crossing — that Aces fans can sign up for here.
—What timing for the rest of the MVC as Creighton leaves for the new Big East Conference. All-American Doug McDermott announced Thursday he’s sticking around for his senior season, and the Aces won’t have to face him again. Already the Bluejays’ all-time leading scorer, McDermott leads the program coached by his father into a league many expect to claim as many as six NCAA tournament bids — Creighton among them now that its top player is staying. The Omaha World-Herald went all out with its McDermott coverage. Click here to check it out.
—Wichita State’s athletic director released this statement Thursday in response to a senior member of the Shockers’ Final Four team being under investigation for alleged sexual assault: ““Wichita State University has been informed of the police investigation. We are mindful and respectful of all parties involved. Wichita State University and the athletic department take this situation very seriously and are cooperating with the Wichita Police Department. At this time it is important to let the investigative process take its course.”