Bats come alive in 15-3 victory

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

The Eastern baseball team belted out 15 hits in its 15-3 victory over Benedictine University-Springfield Tuesday at Coaches Stadium.

The Panthers top of the order, freshman Joe Duncan, sophomore Marshawn Taylor and senior Caleb Howell went a combined 6-for-10 and had five runs batted in on the day.

Howell tied the Eastern career hits record with 260 career hits set by Ryan Campbell from 2004-2007. Howell went 2-for-3 on the day with three runs batted in.

Red-shirt junior Demetre Taylor hit a grand slam to right field, which scored third baseman Brant Valach, Howell and Marshawn Taylor to make it 14-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Demetre Taylor finished the game 2-for-3 with four RBIs and one run scored.

Valach said it was nice to see the offensive power from the Panthers Tuesday.

“A lot of guys were hitting really well,” he said. “A lot of balls hit hard. That is good to see going into this Belmont weekend. We need that.”

Freshman Bobby Wenthe also added to the power supply for the Panthers as he hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning to right field.

Wenthe added an RBI single to right field in the bottom of the fifth to give Eastern an 8-3 lead. He finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Eastern senior Dane Sauer added to his hit total on the day going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. His sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth inning gave the Panthers a 5-3 lead.

Also, Sauer grounded out to shortstop in the bottom of the sixth, which scored Eastern red-shirt freshman Jack Martin, to give the Panthers a 15-3 lead.

The Panthers got stellar pitching from senior Andrew Grahn, sophomore Chase Thurston and junior Matt Doherty in Tuesday’s game.

Grahn, who got his first win of the season, threw five innings, allowed three runs and struck out three batters.

Eastern coach Jimmy Schmitz was happy with the way Grahn pitched.

“I thought Grahn did what we thought he could do,” he said. “He is going to give our guys a chance.”

Thurston shut the door in the sixth and seventh innings and only allowed one hit. Doherty finished out the game with only allowing one hit as well.

Sophomore Cody Bolen took the loss for Benedictine by going two innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits. He is now 2-5 on the season.

Bulldog senior Anthony Jerrall pitched one inning for Benedictine and allowed five earned runs and allowed three hits.

Valach said the win Tuesday is big for the confidence level of the team.

“Coming off a slower weekend as far as runs scoring, this was good to get back on track,” he said. “We needed this. It was really good to see.”

The Panthers are now 4-26 on the season and will host Illinois College at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Coaches Stadium.

Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2182 or [email protected].