Panthers still searching for first win


Kevin Hall

Junior pitcher Matt Doherty pitches in the Panthers game Tuesday at Coaches Stadium against Illinois State. Doherty had three hits in the game.

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

The Eastern baseball team is heading into a three-game series against Tennessee Tech not having won a game all season.

Eastern is coming off an 18-14 loss, Tuesday, to Illinois State in which the Panthers had 22 hits and 14 runs scored.

Panther senior third baseman Brant Valach said if his team can hit like it did on Tuesday, it will come away with wins over the weekend.

“I can promise you that,” he said. “If we hit like this, we will be just fine. There are a lot of games left in the season, and there is no time to panic. All the coaches ask of us is that we just keep moving forward. It is a process. It is baseball. We took a step forward (Tuesday) as an offense and that is good to see.”

Tennessee Tech is 10-17 overall and 4-8 in conference play. The Golden Eagles are also currently riding an eight-game losing streak.

The Golden Eagles are led by senior Dylan Bosheers, who is leading the team in average at .348. Bosheers has five homeruns in 89 plate appearances this season.

He also has eight doubles and 28 runs scored. Junior Jake Farr is hitting .305 on the season with one home run and 25 hits.

Eastern coach Jimmy Schmitz said the Golden Eagles are a good hitting team and his pitchers have to keep the score down in order for the Panthers to win.

“If we get some quality pitching, get some quality pitching and keep the score reasonable, we will be fine,” he said. “They are not a team that does a lot of running. They are pretty much just a hitting team.”

Pitching wise, the Golden Eagles are led by senior Chris Chism, who has a 2.56 earned run average and is 4-1 on the season in nine appearances. Chism has only issued seven walks in 31.2 innings pitched and has 35 strikeouts on the season.

In Tuesday’s game, the Panthers bottom two hitters, John DeVito and Adam Casson went a combined 5-for-7, and production like that from the eight and nine hitters is what Schmitz wants to see moving forward.

“I say to them all the time that mid-week is so important for confidence,” he said. “DeVito has to feel great. Casson has to feel great. John and Casson really give us a plus at the end of the lineup.”

Schmitz said the key to getting a series win over the weekend is keeping the score down.

“We are definitely swinging the bats better,” he said. “But, I think we definitely need to keep the score down.”

Schmitz said he is planning on going with senior Garrison Stenger Thursday, junior Jake Johansmeier Friday and Matt Wivinis Saturday, on the mound.

The Panthers and Golden Eagles will get underway at 6 p.m. Thursday in Cookeville, Tenn.

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