Eastern set for double header against Butler


Dominic Baima

Jessica Wireman, a sophomore pitcher, pitches during the first game on Saturday against the UT Martin at Williams Field.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Senior first baseman Kylie Bennett gave the Eastern softball team the series sweep of the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks on an RBI single in the sixth inning Sunday. Eastern will have a chance to add to its win streak with a pair of games against Butler Tuesday afternoon.

The Panthers will host the Bulldogs in a non-conference doubleheader Tuesday at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. at Williams Field.

The Panthers came out of the first weekend of Ohio Valley Conference play with a 3-0 record, but the games against Butler will not go against their OVC record.

After having a rough pre-season the three big wins against the Skyhawks gave the Panthers some needed confidence, senior outfielder April Markowski said.

“I think it was actually a great confidence boost,” she said. “Being able to start off conference with a sweep really gave us that confidence we needed.”

The women on the team are close with each other, which makes them comfortable and confident in each other, Markowski said. The Panthers are also in the midst of a seven-game home stand.

“I think we are comfortable,” Markowski said. “we are a really close team and we have a lot of trust in every single player. Playing at home is just a plus.

Sophomore pitcher Jessica Wireman earned all three wins over the weekend on the mound for the Panthers. Her performance this past week also earned her OVC pitcher of the week. The second time she has received the honor this season.

Coach Angie Nicholson said if Wireman can continue to pitch the way she did over the weekend and the team can hit the way they did, they will be a tough team to stop.

Senior shortstop Katie Watson leads the team with a .309 batting average. Bennett leads the team with 14 runs driven in.

Wireman’s strong pitching will be needed this weekend as the Bulldogs have a lineup filled with strong hitters. Butler has four players hitting above .300.

Kaitlin Doud has the highest batting average for the Bulldogs at .369. Maggie Macbeth is right behind her at .356.

The Bulldogs do not hit for a ton of power, as Doud leads the team with just four homeruns. But she does have 29 RBI’s in 78 at bats this season.

Butler also likes to run as they have collected 35 stolen bases as a team in 27 games played this season.

Butler also has a few strong pitchers on the roster. Kristin Gutierrez leads the team with a 1.69 earned run average. She has pitched a team high 74.2 innings this season.

She holds a record of 6-5. Kacey Starwalt has the best record on the team at 4-1. She has pitched 35.2 innings this season and has an ERA of 4.12.

Butler has and an overall successful start to it season with a 15-12 record. The Bulldogs have not opened conference play yet.

The Bulldogs are .500 at home but are 2-3 when playing away from their home field. Eastern has yet to lose at home.

This will be Butler’s first game since splitting doubleheader to Miami Ohio March 15.

The Panthers will also take on DePaul on Wednesday for another midweek non-conference matchup, giving them a couple games to prepare for more OVC games this weekend.

“I think the most important thing will just be getting our hacks in at the plate,” Markowski said. “It’s great to have the midweek games to give us more live situations before conference games.”


Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]