—Senior Jason Hockemeyer delivered something Friday the UE baseball team had missed this season: a walk-off win. With two outs in the 10th inning, the outfielder laced a grounder through the left side of Southern Illinois’ infield to seal a 3-2 win for the Aces in their first one-run victory since the Feb. 15 season opener. UE (13-17) finishes the home series with 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday games at Braun Stadium.
—Five players from last year’s Portsmouth Invitational Roster are currently playing in the NBA. That’s the company Colt Ryan will be in at next week’s PIT. He’ll go against top-flight competition — Indiana’s Christian Watford and Louisville’s Peyton Siva — in the first round. Ryan has some notable teammates as well.
—Conference realignment rumors — and it turns out they were just rumors — swirled again on Thursday, with it widely believed Illinois-Chicago was “in the Valley,” as one Wisconsin-Milwaukee blogger who will no longer be mentioned stated. Yes, Illinois-Chicago is under consideration by Missouri Valley Conference leadership. No, the league’s nine presidents haven’t gathered to make a decision on who to invite, or whether to invite anyone at all to replace Creighton. Look for more on the situation in Sunday’s paper.
—Bobby Hunter, the junior college guard that led the nation in scoring this season, spurned a UE offer on Thursday in favor of a verbal commitment to Illinois State, reported JucoRecruiting. The Aces still have two scholarships they can fill heading into the April 17 signing period.
—Freshman Alex Turner, a Harrison High School graduate, has the best stroke average of any UE men’s golfer this spring. How? As he told me, by keeping anger out of his game (perhaps a must-read for all you wannabe Tiger Woods out there). The golf team continues its season this weekend at Indiana’s NYX Hoosier Invitational.
—Former UE shortstop Eric Stamets made his debut start at shortstop Thursday in game one for the Inland Empire 66ers, the Los Angeles Angels’ high-A club. Stamets went 0-for-5 at the plate and committed a fielding error, but hey, he’ll get another chance Friday.
—In his latest “Ask the AD” post, UE athletic director John Stanley addressed a subject that had many Aces fans throughout the CollegeInsider.com Tournament baffled. And me, too. There is no bracket. So how do they decide who gets to host? “The CIT does have a seeding system based primarily on RPI,” Stanley wrote. “The home court is decided by the seeding process and what teams have availability of a facility because that becomes difficult at times in public facilities because of other prior commitments.”
—UE softball kicks off an 11-game home stand Saturday with a weekend series against Northern Iowa at Cooper Stadium. First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is noon, and the Aces (10-21) play a single game to finish the set at noon Sunday.
—UE’s women’s tennis team hosts Bradley at 1 p.m. Saturday and Illinois State at 10 a.m. Sunday as the Aces continue MVC play while looking to snap a three-match losing streak. Both contests will take place at Wesselman Park.