Panthers take one of three from Racers

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

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After dropping both games in the doubleheader on Saturday, the Eastern softball team came back on Sunday to get a 2-0 win, ending its seven-game losing streak.

Senior first baseman Kylie Bennett continued to be a big run producer for the Panthers, driving in a run in the first inning on a double to left center field. Senior third baseman Haylee Beck scored on the play. She reached base on a fielder’s choice.

Bennett now has 17 RBIs this season.

Bennett tries to clear her head and tells herself she is a better hitter than any pitcher before each at bat, she said.
“Before this weekend, I was struggling a little bit,” Bennett said. “But this weekend really helped with my confidence. I love helping my team and getting the RBIs, and of course I wouldn’t be able to do that without them getting on base.”

Sophomore pitcher Jessica Wireman got back into her usual form, pitching seven innings and allowing just two hits and no runs. She struck out three and walked two batters as well.

The win improved her record to 8-16. Wireman got the loss in the first game on Saturday.

Eastern held the 1-0 lead all the way until the seventh when Beck found herself on the other end of the scoring play driving in freshman Mady Poulter.

“As a team the difference about (Sunday) was the overall energy,” Bennett said. “We went into that game knowing we were the better team and knowing that we had to prove it.”

Murray State scored four early runs in the first game of the series and that is all they would need to get the win against the Panthers. Murray State got on the board in the first inning off a double steal.

Two innings later, Cayla Levins hit a three-run home run in the third inning to give the Racers a four-run lead early in the game.

The Panthers matched the Racers in hits but Eastern was unable to get their base runners around to score, and Murray State did.

Eastern threatened to score in the sixth inning, getting two runners on with just one out. Poulter reached base on an error and was moved to third on freshman Kayla Bear’s single down the right field line.

Murray State got the next two batters out and end the inning. The Panthers also got runners on in the fourth and seventh inning.
Wireman took the loss on the mound, going six innings allowing three earned runs. The run in the first inning off the double steal went unearned because of an error by senior shortstop Katie Watson.

Bear, Watson, Bennett, senior April Markowski and freshman Jennifer Ames each got a hit in the game.

Beck had a big performance in the second game of the doubleheader, but it was not enough as the Panthers fell 7-5. It was a back-and-forth game, but Murray just got by the Panthers.

Bear led off the game reaching on an error, but she was not on base for long as Beck homered to left field to make it 2-0. Markowski made it 3-0 by singling to the right side driving in Watson.

Beck gave the Panthers a 4-3 lead in the third inning after Murray State tied it in the bottom half of the first inning.

Murray State regained the lead in the bottom of the third and added to it in the sixth inning. Bennett drove in Bear in the seventh to make it 7-5, ending the game.

Two errors by the Panthers’ defense made a big difference in the game.

Sophomore pitcher Michelle Rogers was on the mound and took the loss. Rogers went six innings giving up seven runs but only three of them were earned.

Eastern is now 10-23 overall and 4-6 in conference play.

“I think as a team we have gained so much confidence just from (Sunday’s win) and hopefully it’s good enough to carry into the next weekend,” Bennett said. “We are a better team than we are showing, and we are finally ready to show everyone that.”

 

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