Baseball team begins three-game home series

Senior+infielder+Mitch+Gasbarro+had+one+run%2C+one+hit+and+two+RBIs+at+four+at+bats+during+the+Panthers+9-7+loss+to+Illinois+on+Tuesday+at+Illinois+Field+in+Champaign.

Jason Howell

Senior infielder Mitch Gasbarro had one run, one hit and two RBIs at four at bats during the Panthers’ 9-7 loss to Illinois on Tuesday at Illinois Field in Champaign.

Maher Kawash, Staff Reporter

The Eastern baseball team continues to search for consistency this season, and the next task at hand is a three-game series with Tennessee Tech.

After five-straight road games, the Panthers return to Coaches Stadium for an Ohio Valley Conference match up with the Golden Eagles.

Eastern has struggled in conference play so far this season, holding a 1-8 record against OVC opponents.

The Panthersā€™ one win in the conference came in the series finale against Murray State last weekend as they picked up a 9-3 win. The win came the day after a 31-11 loss to the Racers.

Eastern is 5-23 this season outside of OVC play, and the team is coming off a 9-7 loss to Illinois.

Three of the Panthersā€™ five wins have come in the last ten games, but they are still searching for more.

Eastern will have a chance at that against a Tennessee Tech team that is 15-12 this season and 6-6 in OVC play.

It will be no easy task for the Panthers as the Golden Eagles are fresh off one of their biggest wins in program history.

Tennessee Tech is coming off a 34-6 victory over Alabama A&M, and it was the second time this season the team has scored 20 or more runs.

Junior Michael McCormick is dealt the task of controlling the powerful Golden Eagles offense in game one.

McCormick pitched six innings against Murray State his last time out on the mound, and he allowed seven runs on nine hits and three walks.

McCormick is 0-4 this season in eight appearances while holding a 6.75 ERA.

As for game two of the series, the Panthers will send senior Matt Wivinis to the mound.

Wivinis has struggled so far in his senior campaign as he is still winless in eight appearances.

Wivinis fell to 0-6 in his last start against the Racers, and he allowed 10 runs on 12 hits in one inning pitched.

Easternā€™s starting pitcher for game three of the series has yet to be announced.

While those starters attempt to shut down Tennessee Tech, sophomore Andy Fisher is expected to have an impact out of the bullpen once again.

Fisher has been a dominant force for the Panthers in relief this season, and his most recent performance came against Illinois.

Fisher earned three strikeouts over one inning pitched in that game, and he leads the team with 36 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched this season.

The Panthersā€™ offense is also still searching for consistency.

After scoring seven runs on 15 hits against the Fighting Illini, Easternā€™s offense is riding some momentum.

Although some the Panthers did have that success last game, the team is still struggling to bring in runs.

In Easternā€™s last three games, the team has left a total of 29 runners on base.

A large part of the Panthersā€™ success on offense has come from senior Demetre Taylor.

Taylor drove in two runs after going 2-for-4 against Illinois, and that performance pushed him into sixth all-time in Eastern history with 138 career RBIs.

Senior Jason Scholl has also improved at the plate lately as he is riding an eight-game hitting streak.

With those seniors leading the lineup, the Panthers hope to earn their first series win this season.

Action will begin Friday with game one at 2 p.m.

Following this three-game series, the Panthers take on Southern Illinois Tuesday in a single-game matchup to begin a five-game road trip.

 

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