Eastern baseball readies itself against the Golden Eagles

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

The Eastern baseball team is in the final stretch of its season and is just four games out of a potential Ohio Valley Conference tournament berth.

The Panthers are currently 10-29 in the conference and are heading to Morehead State for a three-game series.

Eastern has won its last two OVC series against Eastern Kentucky and Belmont.

Eastern will start junior Jake Johansmeier in game one of the series Friday. He won his second-straight game a week ago in the first game of a three-game series against Eastern Kentucky.

Johansmeier will start his 31st game of his career and will move into the Eastern career top ten list for starts.

Red-shirt junior Matt Wivinis will start game two, and Andy Fisher will start game three.

Eastern coach Jimmy Schmitz said the Panther pitchers have to be in good counts and cannot get behind the Morehead State batters.

“If you get 2-0 a lot, just because of that park, it will be crazy,” Schmitz said. “The last seven or eight games, they have all done well. Here, you better pitch and do a lot of mixing, because at that park it is really easy to hit a home run.”

Fisher will be making his third-straight weekend start for the Panthers. Last time out Sunday against Eastern Kentucky, Fisher threw a seven-inning complete game to give Eastern a victory. He was the first Panther pitcher to throw a seven-inning complete game since Mike Hoektra on May 1,2010 against Tennessee-Martin.

Eastern pitchers will have the daunting task of going up against a 28-17 Morehead State team, who is currently fighting for the No. 2 seed with Southern Illinois Edwardsville.

The Golden Eagles are 13-8 in the OVC and have won four straight games.

Schmitz said the Panthers pitching is going to have to be key to slow the Golden Eagles down with their high-powered offense.

“As well as we have been hitting lately, the pitching has been unbelievable,” he said. “If we keep pitching as well as we have been, we will be fine.”

Morehead State is led by Chris Robinson, who is hitting .392 on the season with 71 hits in 181 at bats. He has seven home runs on the season, 19 doubles and 51 runs batted in. He has only struck out 21 times and walked 20.

Nick Newell is second on the team in batting average with a .386. He has six homers in 184 at bats this season. Along with his 46 RBIs, Newell has 23 doubles and two triples.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a 20-4 win over Northern Kentucky this past week. Morehead State tallied 20 hits in the game and got its offense mainly from Robinson, who went 3-for-5 in the game with three RBIs and two runs scored.

Newell also went 3-for-5 in the game with one RBI and two runs scored.

Pitching-wise, the Golden Eagles are led Aaron Goe, who has made four starts this season and has a 2.55 earned run average.

Patrick McGuff has made eight starts this season for the Golden Eagles and has a 6.68 ERA

As a staff, the Golden Eagles have a 6.16 ERA and have allowed 270 earned runs this season and walked 349 batters.

The Panthers and Golden Eagles will get underway Friday at 3 p.m. central time.


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