—UE’s baseball team hosts one of the nation’s hottest squads at 6 p.m. today when Indiana, a winner in 23 of its last 25 games, comes to Braun Stadium. The Hoosiers (25-4) had their 18-game winning streak snapped Sunday against Illinois but enter still nationally ranked as high as No. 12 by Baseball America and eighth in the ratings percentage index. The Aces (14-18) moved their Missouri Valley Conference record above .500 last weekend while taking two of three from Southern Illinois in the Aces’ second consecutive conference series victory.
—It’s important to note that Louisville won the first NCAA title in sleeves since UE last did it. OK, maybe that’s not so important. But the Cardinals did have a UE tie for most of the season with former player and assistant Kareem Richardson on the national champion’s staff. Richardson recently left to take his first head coaching job at Missouri-Kansas City, which interestingly enough has earned a look from MVC leadership regarding the league’s possible expansion.
—Beyond creating the Ridgway Endowment for Faculty Excellence, it’s not been determined yet how Dr. William Ridgway’s $39 million gift will be utilized at UE, though a school spokesperson pointed to this plan that mentions Division I athletics in the university’s future plans. “New resources will be used to ensure that our facilities are sufficient to support an NCAA Division I athletics program, to maintain equity for men’s and women’s sports, and to increase our ability to identify and bring to UE prospective student-athletes able to succeed on and off the playing field,” it says on page 19.
—UE signee Blake Simmons continued adding to his accolades Tuesday when it was announced the Castle High School senior will play for the Indiana All-Stars team this summer. It’s the second straight year the Aces have an Indiana All-Star coming in as a freshman. D.J. Balentine did it last season. Before that, Colt Ryan was the last player to earn the honor and go on to play at UE.
—Kyle Neddenriep, preps sports writer for the Indianapolis Star, published a list of seniors snubbed from the Indiana All-Stars. Fishers High School guard Jaylon Brown didn’t make the cut there, either, but Neddenriep acknowledged in a later tweet that the UE signee could have also made the team.
—Wichita State earned the MVC a handful of NCAA units — money — and seems to have made a reputation for itself already moving forward with a Final Four run. The Shockers are ranked in each of the big three preseason polls for next year: 11th at ESPN.com and USA Today and 25th by CBSSports.com.
—Following its 1 p.m. Wednesday doubleheader with Middle Tennessee State, the UE softball team will host a home run derby charity event to benefit Breast Cancer research. Cost is $5, and the winner gets to throw the first pitch at the Aces’ game Saturday against Bradley.
—UE’s volleyball team will close its spring season this weekend with a tournament at the University of Southern Indiana. Admission is free. The Aces are still searching for a new head coach after Mike Swan left for Division II Valdosta State last month.
—Colt Ryan starts his run at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament on Thursday. I’ve heard UE’s all-time leading scorer has already spent time away from Evansville training for the event. Look for an update tomorrow on the Aces senior.
—In response to the news that a seventh grader had committed to the UE women’s basketball program, I received a tweet reminding me April Fools was last week as well as an email criticizing the decision to publish the story at all. Well, it is for real. Apparently, so is Katlyn Gilbert, who received this review after her performance at a tournament in March: “Gilbert is a true floor general. She looks to get her teammates involved and knows what she needs to do to make that happen. Handles the rock extremely well and rarely, if ever turns it over. Defensively, she plays her heart out every possession and has a very good understanding of team defensive principles. Was extremely versatile this weekend, playing the 1-5, and had no trouble guarding the post. Gilbert will be on the scene for years to come.”
—Sophomore Marketa Trousilova, a Kansas State transfer, earned her third MVC Women’s Tennis Player of the Week honor on Tuesday, the league announced. Trousilova is 11-1 in singles competition and 12-2 with doubles partner Natasha James. The Czech Republic native overcame a shoulder injury to get to this point, which she said is the best tennis of her career.
—CBS Sports’ Jeremy Fowler was probably only grasping at straws, or at the very least making some speculation based on what he’s heard by mentioning Missouri State as a possible option for Conference-USA expansion. It would mean a move to the Football Bowl Subdivision for the Bears and a much larger operating budget.