Baseball team begins road trip

Maher Kawash, Staff Reporter

The Eastern baseball team is riding a four-game losing streak and coming off yet another series loss as it begins another road trip.

The Panthers travel to Carbondale Tuesday to take on Southern Illinois in a single-game matchup that provides an opportunity for a much needed win.

Eastern is fresh off a three-game sweep at the hands of Tennessee Tech, and head into this game at 5-26 on the season.

While the Panthers have lost eight of their last 10 games, the Salukis are 5-5 in their last 10.

Southern Illinois is 19-13-1 this season, and is currently on a two-game losing streak.

The Salukis have only been able to score five or more runs three times in their last 10 games.

Attempting to take advantage of that will be the Panthers’ senior Jake Johansmeier.

Johansmeier is getting the start in the single-game matchup, and will try to improve on his last start.

In last week’s matchup against Illinois, Johansmeier pitched four innings while allowing four runs on eight hits in the 9-7 loss.

This time around Johansmeier will try to lower his 6.18 ERA, and improve on his 2-3 record this season.

Johansmeier also has a chance to pad his career stats and continue to move up the Eastern record books.

Heading into this start he is fifth all-time in Panthers’ history for career games started at 38, and also in career innings pitch with 223.

Attempting to back Johansmeier up on the mound will be Eastern’s offense.

The Panthers have fallen just short in recent games as they struggle to produce runs.

But some guys in the lineup are beginning to hit their stride.

Freshman Dane Toppel is coming off a productive weekend series as he finished the doubleheader going a combined 4-for-8 while adding two RBIs.

Senior Frankie Perrone was also an important part of the offense this past weekend, and his first home run of the season was a big part of that.

Perrone batted .300 in the series against Tennessee Tech, and held an on-base percentage of .417.

Sophomore Joseph Duncan has also been exactly what the Panthers need out of their leadoff spot in the lineup.

Duncan hit .500 against the Golden Eagles as he went 6-for-12 from the plate while driving in one run and scoring three of his own.

He also managed to hold a .571 on base percentage in the series, and is tied for fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference with 12 stolen bases this season.

As the team is just 5-26 to start this season, those three will need to continue their hot streaks against the Salukis.

The path does not get easier for Eastern following the game against Southern Illinois, as the team will face the top dog in the OVC, Southeast Missouri, in a three-game series this weekend.

First pitch against the Salukis is at 5 P.M., and game one against the Redhawks begins Friday.


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