Panthers host Billikens in mid-week contest

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

The Eastern baseball team is set to host the St. Louis Billikens in a mid-week contest at Coaches Stadium Tuesday.

The Panthers are coming off a series win against Eastern Kentucky in which they won game one 9-4 and game three 13-4.

Senior pitcher Andrew Grahn is making his third-straight mid-week start and his fifth this season.

Grahn has a 1-1 record and has worked five innings in each of his last two starts against Benedictine and No. 8 Illinois. This is Grahn’s 24th start of his career and needs 1 1/3 innings to reach 100 innings or her career.

Eastern senior third baseman Brant Valach has been impressed with the way Grahn has throwing the ball as of late.

“Andrew is a great example of how if you attack the strike zone, stay ahead in counts, and not get too fine with your pitches, even the best hitters will get themselves out,” he said. “He’s doing great lately, and that’s huge for us.”

Grahn will get the tough task of facing a Billiken lineup that has seven players hitting over .300.

Billiken junior outfielder Michael Bozarth is the one player on St. Louis who is hitting .400. Bozarth has one home run on the season with 20 runs batted in.

He has 42 hits in 105 at-bats and has 33 runs scored. Bozarth has a 16-game hitting streak.

Bozarth also leads the Billikens with 14 steals. He now has 43 steals in his career.

Junior catcher Jake Henson leads the team in homeruns with eight. He also has 42 RBIs on the season with 60 hits in 166 at-bats this season.

Henson has also recorded 12 doubles and two triples.  He has 18 multi-hit games this season and multiple RBIs in 12 games.

The Billikens are starting junior pitcher Josh Moore. He is 4-2 on the season with a 3.45 earned run average. Moore has struck out 51 batters on the season and has walked 18.

The Panthers have been playing good baseball as of late.

Since Eastern ended its 23 game losing streak, the Panthers have a record of 9-6 on the season.

Eastern had a stretch two weeks ago where it won four straight games, which included two wins against conference rival Belmont.

Eastern coach Jimmy Schmitz said the biggest change is that he has been able to stick with a lineup throughout the last three or so weeks.

“We bounced around a lot early one,” he said. “Why we had Caleb at first base, I don’t know. I think we tried to do too much and move things around. Freshmen are now more comfortable. I think (Joe) Duncan in the leadoff spot has everything to do with it. Wenthe is doing well. Henneman is doing well and then Fisher is doing well.”

Andy Fisher threw seven complete innings Sunday in the second game of a doubleheader against Eastern Kentucky.

The Panthers and Billikens will get underway at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Coaches Stadium.

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