The Eastern softball team’s Wednesday afternoon double-header against Evansville was canceled due to the threat of inclement weather. The Panthers are still set to play this coming weekend’s games at Southeast Missouri at the Southeast Games. Eastern will also take on Bradley twice over the weekend.
The Panthers got off to a winning start this season, going 3-2 at the Iowa State Cyclone Invitational. Eastern opened up the season with a 6-0 shutout against Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Eastern lost the second the game 8-7 in extra innings, but followed that game up with another shutout against North Dakota. The Panthers won a close one, 1-0.
Sophomore pitcher Jessica Wireman got three wins that weekend, but that is the last time she has won a game. She has gone 0-10 since then.
Wireman though has been a big strikeout pitcher this season, so far striking out 63 batters in just 71 innings. She leads the team in both categories. Wireman has a 6.08 earned run average.
The only other pitcher the Panthers consistently use is sophomore Michelle Rogers.
Through the first part of the season, Rogers has pitched 47 innings and holds a 1-3 record.
The Panthers have had contribution from top to bottom in their lineup, but a majority of the contribution has come from two of their seniors. First baseman Kylie Bennett and shortstop Katie Watson are the Panthers’ top two hitters, and are the only ones with above a .300 batting average.
Bennett leads the team with a .308 batting average and Watson is right behind her batting .304. Bennett also leads the team with five homeruns. She also leads the team in RBIs with 13.
Senior outfielder April Markowski is just one homerun behind Bennett with four.
In just her first year, second baseman Jennifer Ames is hitting .279 in 43 at bats. She also has a home run this season and his driven in three runs.
Freshman outfielder Kayla Bear is also in the top five for batting average for Eastern. Bear is currently batting .268 with three RBI.
After having such a successful weekend to start the year, the Panthers have struggled to get back into the win column; their record now sits at 4-15. Eastern has played some tough competition including Kentucky, Kansas, Butler and Mississippi.
Eastern has not begun Ohio Valley Conference play yet, nor have they played at home. Eastern’s first conference game will be March 19th, which will also be its first home game of the season.
The Panthers will host Tennessee-Martin in a three game series that weekend. Eastern will then take a quick break from OVC play to take on Butler and DePaul in a pair of double headers March 22nd and 23rd.
Other than the next couple games for Eastern and the four games against DePaul and Butler, the Panthers will play nothing but OVC games the rest of the way. They will, however, travel up the road to Champaign to take on Illinois.
The team will also play a stretch of seven home games from April 9th to April 17th. They will wrap up the OVC part of their schedule with a three-game series against Southeast Missouri.
After that, the Panthers will head to the OVC tournament if they post a good enough record throughout the season.
Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]