Eastern baseball team swept by Murray State


Jason Howell

Freshman pitcher Joseph Duncan narrowly makes it to first during the Panthers’ 18-7 loss to Murray State on Saturday at Coaches Stadium. Duncan had one run on two hits during four at bats during the game. Murray State beat the Panthers’ in Sunday’s doubleheader 8-4 and 8-2. The Panthers 0-9 in the OVC and 0-20 overall.

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

The Eastern men’s baseball team fell to 0-20 on the season after it was swept by Murray State over the weekend.

The Panthers were never able to take the lead in the first game on Sunday in the second game of the Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader at Coaches Stadium.

Eastern lost 18-7, 8-4 and 8-2 in the three-game series. The Panthers are now 0-9 in the OVC. Murray State improved to 11-17 overall and 7-5 in the conference.

Eastern coach Jimmy Schmitz said the team is not finding ways to win.

“We are just not putting together the different phases of the game,” he said. “In the second game (Sunday) we took the lead and committed an error and gave it back to them. When you are 0-20 everyone is fragile. (Saturday) we didn’t pitch in the opener. In game one (Sunday), we didn’t hit, and in the second game we didn’t play defense.”

Senior starting pitcher Garrison Stenger gave up nine earned runs in the first game Saturday in the first inning. Stenger was pulled after 2/3. All nine runs came with two outs.

Stenger struck out the first batter then senior John Devito threw out Racer red-shirt sophomore Matthew Johnson trying to steal second.

The next nine racer hitters would reach base with three walks and seven hits. Freshman Kipp Moore hit a 2-run homer to push the lead to 6-0 in the top of the first inning.

Johnson would homer his second time around in the first to give the Racers a 9-0 lead.

The Panthers were able to add a couple of runs in the first inning as senior Brant Valach had an RBI double.

Valach finished the first game going 3-for-5 with a home run.

Junior Jason Scholl added an RBI single to right field to cut the lead to 9-4.

Murray State would add two more home runs in the second inning as senior Anthony Bayus and junior Nick Moore added a solo shot and a 3-run home run, respectively.

Senior Andrew Grahn pitched three scoreless innings for one of the lone bright spots in game one.

Game two and game three were no different for the Panthers as the pitching staff gave up a combined 16 runs in two games.

Racer junior pitcher Brad Boegel went the distance for Murray State and allowed two earned runs, four total, on eight hits and struck out four Panther batters.

Schmitz said Boegel located his pitches well.

“He threw fastballs away and mixed a little bit in,” he said. “That is what people are doing this year; they are mixing in and out, which we are not at all. It is pretty simple stuff.”

The Panthers had a prime chance to break the game wide open in the bottom of the fifth inning after freshman Joe Duncan, freshman Cale Hennemann and senior Caleb Howell all singled to start the inning.

Valach hit a sacrifice fly to right field to tie the game at four.

Red-shirt junior Demetre Taylor flied out to right field and senior Adam Casson grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.

The Panthers did not threaten to score the rest of the game.

Junior pitcher Jake Johansmeier took the loss for the Panthers. He finished the game going 7 1/3 innings pitched, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits.

Eastern took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first in game three after Howell had an RBI double and Taylor added a sacrifice fly.

The Panthers committed two errors in the top of the second that proved to be costly. Nick Moore hit a two-run single to right field to give the Racers the lead.

Matthews and Nick Moore drove in runs in the seventh inning to push the Racer lead to 8-2.

Red-shirt junior pitcher Matt Wivinis took the loss as he pitched four innings and allowed three earned runs, six total, on four walks and struck out three batters.

Duncan and Valach went a combined 11-for-23 over the weekend, and Schmitz was pleased with those two at the plate.

“I thought that was a big weekend for (Duncan),” he said. “I think Brant had a big game (Saturday) and (Sunday) had the big hit. We have to find someone behind Brant. With Brant, Howell and Demetre it seems like one has a good game and the other two don’t have a good games.”

The Panthers will take on Illinois State at Coaches Stadium Tuesday at 3 p.m.

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