Baseball team begins conference play

Jack Arkus, Staff Reporter

Each team in the Ohio Valley Conference is just about 10 games into their 2016 season. Records vary from teams with impressive starts to a team who has yet to get a win. Whether it is first place Morehead State or Southern Illinois-Edwardsville who is yet to come up with a win on the season, the 11 teams that make up the OVC baseball conference all have one commonality.

The common connection they all share is having a clean slate in terms of wins over losses for conference competition. No matter what team is currently considered the best, up until today they all fall into the category of being 0-0 in conference play.

This weekend marks the beginning of the inter-conference battles between the majorities of the teams of the Ohio Valley Conference.

As of today, every team has a fair opportunity to cover some conference ground in the win column. Morehead State leads the pack going into the weekend with a first place record of 8-3. Junior outfielder Ryan Kent has had a splendid season so far for the Eagles. In the 8 games he has played in, Kent has managed to accumulate 10 hits while producing 3 RBIs and one home run. Morehead State had an exceptional 2015 season, as they finished second place to Southeast Missouri.

So far this season, Southeast Missouri serves as the median team in the standings. Just like Belmont, the team’s 6-6 record puts them in the middle of the OVC.  Dan Holst, the Red Hawks’ junior outfielder, has played in every single game this season and has put up great numbers with his 8 RBIs and .432 batting average.

Southeast Missouri will face off against Eastern Kentucky, a conference contender that currently sits in third place with a record of 7-5. Eastern Kentucky will host Southeast Missouri Friday through Sunday. The hosting team is 3-1 at home this season.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville will stay home this weekend in search of their first win of the year. Their opponent, Jacksonville State, has so far outscored them on the diamond 110 to 20, but it is still early.

Pitcher Graham Officer has seen the most time on the mound this season for Jacksonville State. He has pitched 15 innings with an ERA of 4.11, and has a record of 1-1 going into this weekend.

Tennessee Tech will travel to conference rival Morehead State this weekend with hopes of trying to spoil their first place standing. The Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech is one game above .500 (6-5). The only road game the Golden Eagles have played in this season came in a losing effort back in late February. Sophomore first baseman Chase Chambers has brought his bat to every game the Golden Eagles have played in this season. With a batting average of .412, Chambers has 13 RBIs to his name with 4 homeruns to show for in his 34 at-bats on the season.

Tennessee-Martin (4-9) will try to improve their record at home against Murray State this weekend as well. Pitcher Dalton Westfall leads his team ERA with .386 and has a record of 2-1. Westfall has pitched 16 innings up until this weekend, and has walked 12 opponents and given up eight runs. Murray State is 6-7 going into Friday and will try to get their record above .500.

With a lot of conference action taking place this weekend, the OVC race begins to accelerate. To most, this weekend acts as a starter point for spring break, but for OVC baseball this weekend is the beginning of the rest of the season.


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