Ranked opponent trumps Eastern baseball team

Jack Arkus, Staff Reporter

Despite running into a patch of snow early Wednesday morning, the Eastern baseball team arrived in Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores.

The Panthers fell to the Commodores, 9-1, Wednesday evening, leaving them 0-4 to start the season. Eastern trailed by one until the 6th inning, where the Commodores put up one run and added two more in the 7th. The 8th inning gave way to five more runs scored by Vanderbilt.

Eastern’s right-handed pitcher Ben Hughes, a red-shirt freshman, pitched a sound three innings, allowing one hit and one run while walking three batters. Hughes pitched one inning longer than expected and head Coach Jason Anderson was pleased with his performance.  “I knew this game was going to be reliant on our bullpen, so it was nice to see Ben go the extra inning,” Anderson said.

Winning pitcher Patrick Raby pitched seven innings, allowing just one hit. Raby struck out eleven and allowed no runs while on the mound for Vanderbilt.

The Panthers had three hits during the game while the Commodores accumulated eleven. Freshman Dane Toppel and sophomore Josh Turnock were the pair of pinch hitters for Eastern who made up for two of their three hits. Toppel struck a double in the 9th inning, giving him his first hit of the season. He advanced to third base on a wild pitch and was driven in by sophomore Turnock the next at bat.

Sophomore Bryan Reynolds batted five times on the day and contributed three hits for Vanderbilt. He had 1 RBI and scored twice. Ro Coleman, junior outfielder, and freshman designated hitter Alonzo Jones each had a pair of RBI’s while giving their team some more insurance.

Eastern tried adjusting at the plate, but it was a slow day for them. As a team, they struck out sixteen times but remained aggressive throughout the game.

On the field, the conditions were wet and the wind had a slight gust. The late error in the 7th by Eastern on an overthrow from a bunt gave way to two more runs for the Commodores.

“The conditions were a bit tough, and that changed that game for us late. We were able to keep up with a good team for most of the game and we just have to move on from there,” Anderson said.

Eastern’s approach will remain the same going into this weekend against Central Arkansas. The team looks to expand their potential in the four-game set and intends on being aggressive at the plate.

Anderson wants his team to adjust on offense a little more, and limiting strikeouts will be key to the team’s success.

The Eastern baseball team will head to Conway, Ark., for a four-game series against Central Arkansas this weekend. The Panthers are currently 0-4 overall.


Jack Arkus can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]