Softball dominates on Nashville road trip

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Three weeks ago the Eastern softball team was 3-6 in Ohio Valley Conference games but has since gone on a 10-game OVC win streak and are now 13-6.

The Panthers added to their win streak with a pair of doubleheader sweeps over Belmont and Tennessee State over the weekend.

Eastern got the weekend started with a 4-2 win over the Bruins of Belmont in game one of the doubleheader on Saturday.

Seniors Haylee Beck and Katie Watson each had a strong day at the plate each driving in two runs. Beck went 3-4 and Watson went 2-3.

The two switched off driving in runs as Beck tripled in the first inning to drive in freshman Kayla Bear. Watson followed that up in the third inning with a single to drive in Beck.

The two seniors would each drive in a run in the fifth inning to make it 4-0 in the Panthers’ favor. Belmont would go on to tack on two runs in the sixth.

Sophomore pitcher Jessica Wireman shut down the Bruins through the first four innings by not allowing a hit until the fifth.

Wireman gave up two runs in the sixth inning, which brought in sophomore Michelle Rogers to finish off the game in the seventh inning. Rogers allowed a hit and a walk in the seventh but was able to put away the Bruins.

Eastern essentially put game two out of reach after playing just one inning. Eastern put up 10 runs in the first. Watson drove in two runs in the first inning. She drove in five runs in the game. She hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to make the score 15-2.

The Bruins did not help out their pitcher in the first inning, as five of the 10 runs were unearned, potentially changing the game.

Lexi Rouse got the start in the circle for Belmont and was able to record just one out before being pulled from the game.

Eastern’s dominating first inning helped them run-rule the Bruins in five innings. Bear, Beck and junior Andrea Roberts also drove in a run in the game.

Rogers didn’t have to worry about much when she went out to pitch as she already had a 10-run cushion before she even threw one pitch.

The sophomore went 4.1 innings with three earned runs and two strikeouts. Wireman came in for the final two outs of the game and shut the Bruins down besides one hit batter, completing the sweep of the conference foe.

The Panthers’ bats continued to drive in runs and give their pitchers run support on Sunday. The Panthers downed Tennessee State in six innings a score of 12-4.

Eastern scored early once again and continued to pour it on later in the game as well. The Panthers gave Wireman a three-run lead before she stepped foot in the circle.

Sophomore Tori Johnson led the way for the Panthers in the game driving in five runs and going 3-4 at the plate. Johnson had three singles in the game, single-handedly producing more runs than the entire Tennessee State lineup.

Senior April Markowski scored three times in the game as well.

Wireman once again got the win on the mound going six innings allowing four runs on four hits. Her two wins over the weekend put her record at 13-17 on the season overall.

Bear had a record-setting day in the first game of the doubleheader with Tennessee State. She tied the all-time freshman record for stolen bases in the game going 3-3 in stolen base attempts.

Eastern did not quite put up as many runs in the second game, scoring just four runs but it’s all the Panthers would need as Rogers fired a shutout. Rogers went all seven innings, allowed seven hits and struck out four.

With the win, Rogers’ record now stands at 7-8 on the year.

Freshman Mady Poulter, Roberts and junior Kaitlyn Crossen drove in the runs for the Panthers in the fourth inning.

Eastern will head to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville next weekend for a three-game series with the Cougars. The Panthers will return home May 7.

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