Panthers sweep OVC’s top team


Lauren McQueen

Designated hitter Jennifer Ames bats during game 1 of a doubleheader against Eastern Kentucky Saturday at Williams Field. The Panthers won 1-0 in 12 innings.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Twelve innings. That is what it took for the Eastern softball team and Eastern Kentucky to find a winner. The Panthers came out on top by a score of 1-0.

It was a pitcher’s duel throughout the game as Eastern sophomore Jessica Wireman and Eastern Kentucky’s Hayley Flynn combined for 45 strikeouts.

Wireman had 22 strikeouts in her 12 innings of work. Her previous career game high was 11 last year against Tennessee Tech.

Wireman dominated the entire game and the Eastern Kentucky Colonels could only muster five hits in the game. She struck out everyone in the Colonels’ line up besides Rachel Minogue. But Minogue went 0-3 in the game.

What was supposed to be the best part of Eastern Kentucky’s lineup, piled up the most strikeouts in the game. The team’s 1-2-3 hitters combined for 10 strikeouts.

“I felt really good with Jess (Wireman),” Eastern coach Angie Nicholson said. “She was really spinning the ball well.”

Heading into the game, Eastern Kentucky had not lost in Ohio Valley Conference play, holding a perfect 10-0 record.

Offensively, it was a struggle for Eastern as they struck out 24 times as a team. The Panthers had six hits.

Eastern won the game in the bottom of the 12th inning on a suicide squeeze. Senior outfielder April Markowski led the inning off with a single and was eventually moved to third off a single by freshman designated hitter Jennifer Ames and a sacrifice bunt by freshman second baseman Mady Poulter.

Junior catcher Ashlynne Paul laid down a perfect bunt to bring home Markowski to end the game. Paul was also a big threat behind the plate as she threw out three runners trying to steal in the game, keeping those runners from potentially scoring.

Nicholson called the game stressful.

“The positive was we had many more opportunities than they did,” Nicholson said. “It was just a matter of time for us before it was going to happen.”

Game two was nothing like game one as the Panthers put up seven runs in the game. This game was also finished in the usual seven innings.

Eastern Kentucky got on the board in the second inning but Eastern tied it back up off an error by Krislyn Campos.

Eastern broke the game open in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings scoring two runs in each. Panthers used the long ball to get extend their lead in the game. Ames crushed one in the first game that went foul, but in game two she straightened it out a sent it way over the left center field fence for a two-run home run.

Senior first baseman Kylie Bennett followed that up in the fifth inning with a two run home run of her own. Bennett’s home run was a no-doubter over the center field fence.

Senior third baseman Haylee Beck doubled to center field in the sixth driving in freshman outfielder Kayla Bear all the way from first base. Later in the inning, Markowski singled to center and after a few throwing miscues, senior shortstop Katie Watson came around to score.

With the pair of wins, Eastern got its OVC record back to .500 at 6-6.

“I think what fires you up the most is they were sitting undefeated in the conference and we just knocked them off,” Nicholson said about beating the Colonels in game one.

The Panthers were supposed to take on Morehead State in a doubleheader on Sunday, but the rain forced the games to be canceled.

The Panthers had a 6-2 lead heading into the top of the fifth where Eastern could have shut down Morehead State and ended the game because five innings is considered a complete game.

The Eagles scored eight runs in the inning to take a 10-6 lead, but the umpires finally called the game, erasing everything that had happened. The game ended up not counting and there has not been an announcement whether it will be made up or not.


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