Softball starts season with three wins


Jason Howell

Senior infielder Bailey O'Dell throws the ball to first against Tennessee-Martin on April 12 at Williams Field. O'Dell had two at bats and one pick off during the game. The Panthers won the weekend series against the Skyhawks.

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

In the first two weekends the Eastern softball have taken on three teams ranked in the USA Today’s Top 25 poll.

The Panthers took on No. 16 ranked Louisiana State University and No. 7 Louisiana-Lafayette in the first weekend and No. 17 Auburn this past weekend.

The Panthers were able to hang around with LSU losing only 6-1 with only one of those runs be earned to freshman pitcher Jessica Wireman.

Wireman continued to shine that weekend which earned her “Top Cat” honors for the week.

Powerhouse Louisiana-Lafayette was just too much for the Panthers as they lost by scores of 17-0, and 9-0.

They also lost to Auburn by a score of 9-1.

Coach Angie Nicholson wanted the schedule to be tough early so her team can see where it stands against some of the best teams in the nation.

“I believe this team has been able to grow together and experience so many different situations both good and bad from playing at this level.” she said.

The Panthers first wins on the year came against Incarnate Word, defeating them 6-1 in the first meeting and 7-4 in the second.

Sophomore Amber Toenyes went 3-for-3 in the first game hitting two, 2-run home runs.

The Panthers finished the weekend at 2-3, but players such as seniors Bailey O’Dell, Hannah Cole and Wireman said that it was a good learning experience.

This past weekend, the Panthers went 1-4 over the weekend in the Auburn Tiger Classic in Auburn, Ala.

Eastern took on Winthrop University, Mercer University, Georgia State University, No. 17 Auburn and Ball State University.

The Panthers won the first game against Winthrop but would drop the next four.

Wireman and freshman Michelle Rogers have been relied on the most to pitch for the Panthers.

Rogers leads the team with 28 1/3 innings pitched, with a 4.20 earned run average with 19 strikeouts.

Wireman has pitched 28 innings and has 13 strikeouts with a 4.75 ERA and has appeared in seven out of the ten games.

“I think both Rogers and Wireman have shown a great deal of competitiveness and drive,” Nicholson said. “They have not backed down from the heavy hitters they have faced. I am proud of their fight and their willingness to take ownership and will to want to get better.”

At the plate, senior catcher Hannah Cole leads the team with a .370 batting average.

Cole has seven RBIs with 10 hits, and three of them being homeruns.

Fellow senior and shortstop Bailey O’Dell is also off to a fast start with a .355 average with six RBIs and two homeruns.

“We still have so many things to clean up and they see that,” Nicholson said. “This group is capable of so much more and I think they are able to see that if they can pull it all together it can be a beautiful thing to watch.”

They will continue their season this weekend at the Western Kentucky Hilltopper Spring Fling.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].