Baseball team prepares for Illinois State

Sophomore+Dane+Toppel+takes+a+swing+at+the+ball+during+Friday%27s+game+against+Jacksonville+State+at+Coaches+Stadium.+

Sean Hastings

Sophomore Dane Toppel takes a swing at the ball during Friday's game against Jacksonville State at Coaches Stadium.

Maher Kawash, Staff Reporter

The Eastern baseball team is riding a three-game losing streak, and searching for wins after a rough start to the season.

The Panthers hit the road for a midweek game against Illinois State Tuesday at Duffy Bass Field.

Eastern has struggled so far this season as they hold a 3-20 record overall, and still winless in conference play at 0-6.

The Panthers are coming off an Ohio Valley Conference matchup against Jacksonville State, and they were swept in three games.

Eastern will take on an Illinois State team that hasn’t had much success either this season at 7-16 overall.

While both teams boast records under .500, both coaches are new to their programs.

As Eastern Coach Jason Anderson is in his first season with EIU, Bo Durkac is in just his second with the Redbirds.

Wins have been at a premium for Eastern so far, and missed opportunities have been the problem.

In their last series against undefeated Jacksonville State, the Panthers left 26 runners on base.

In the process of leaving 26 on base, Eastern also failed to finish off ninth inning rallies in games one and two.

With the three-game sweep still fresh on their minds, the Panthers will send a freshman to the mound to stop the Redbird offense.

Cole Berry will be the starting pitcher for Eastern, and it will be his eighth appearance of the season.

So far this season, Berry holds a 10.24 Earned Run Average in 9.2 innings pitched.

Berry has also allowed 12 runs with nine walks while recording six strikeouts in his seven appearances.

While Berry attempts to shut down the Redbirds on the mound, Eastern’s offense will be the true x-factor.

The Panthers have scored at least 10 runs in all three of their wins this season.

Eastern is hoping sophomore Joseph Duncan, senior Demetre Taylor, and senior Jason Scholl carry on their performances from last series.

Duncan, Taylor, and Scholl led the Panthers offense against Jacksonville State as they batted .300 in the series.

Duncan went 4-13 in the series with a .308 batting average while adding a walk and two stolen bases in three games.

Taylor provided a spark to Eastern’s offense by going 3-10 with one home run, two Runs Batted In, three walks, and four runs scored.

Scholl will also be an important guy for the Panthers as he led the team with four RBIs in the series.

Eastern’s bullpen will also hope to improve against Illinois State after an up and down weekend series.

Sophomore Andy Fisher has been the best guy out of the bullpen for Eastern this season, and he followed that up over the weekend.

Fisher pitched 3.1 innings of relief while allowing just one run on three hits, and striking out four batters.

The Panthers will need a string of improvement across the team as they attempt to turn this season around.

Eastern has the upper hand in series history with a record of 88-84-1 in program history against Illinois State.

The last meeting was a high scoring affair between these two teams as the Redbirds escaped with an 18-14 victory over the Panthers.

Eastern will attempt to come out victorious this time around when first pitch crosses the plate at 4:30 p.m.

Following this single game matchup, the Panthers will stay on the road for another OVC matchup against Murray State this weekend.

 

Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]