Baseball team looks to end losing streak

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

The Eastern baseball team heads into a mid-week game at St. Louis University on a nine-game losing streak.

Eastern senior second baseman Dane Sauer said in order to get back on track, his team has to just play their game.

“I think it’s just our approach and sticking to our plan,” he said. “We have to know our roles and stick to them.”

Freshman pitcher Andy Fisher will start his third game of the season. He has a record of 0-2 on the season in four appearances with an 11.57 earned run average.

Fisher got the start in the game Monday at Austin Peay and went 1 1/3 innings and allowed three runs and four walks.

Last season the Panthers defeated St. Louis 9-7 at Coaches Stadium. Joe Greenfield got the win for Eastern in relief. He pitched one inning and allowed just one hit and no runs.

Troy Barton got the save, closing out the ninth inning with one inning pitched and allowing one hit and no runs.

Sauer said he knows St. Louis is always a pretty solid group.

“It’s just another mid-week game,” he said. “We have to take it like that. We have to compete and play our game and play like we know how to play.”

The Panthers are coming off a three-game series in which they were swept by Austin Peay 11-5, 6-3, 12-3.

In the last series, Senior Brant Valach drove in three runs. He also hit two home runs in the series giving him 12 for his career.

With the success the past couple of games, Valach said he has to just continue to trust his approach.

“Now getting more consistent at bats has helped me get in a groove,” he said. “I’m going to continue to trust that and hopefully have success.”

He has raised his average to .259 on the season and slugging percentage to .519.

Valach said he expects St. Louis to throw a lot of pitchers tomorrow, due to it being a mid-week game.

The Billikens are expected to start freshman pitcher Connor Lehmann, who has a record of 0-1 this season. He has a 3.6 ERA, stuck out 10, and walked nine batters in 15 innings pitched.

Junior Michael Bozarth leads St. Louis with a .348 batting average in 14 games played this season. He has 16 hits, including three doubles and six runs batted in.

Fellow junior Trent Leimkuehler has a .340 batting average through 12 games this season. He has 17 hits, five doubles and one triple.

Valach said the key to winning the game against the Billikens is staying together as a team and making adjustments when possible.

“If we start playing as a team, we will start winning,” he said. “We need to jump on them early. If we get a lead early and we keep building upon that lead, then we will have success.”

The Panthers and Billikens will play at 2 p.m. at the Billiken Sports Center in St. Louis.

Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].