Baseball team continues season with midweek matchups


Lauren McQueen

Junior Jake Haberer pitches during the Panthers’ game against Belmont Sunday at Coaches Stadium. The Panthers lost 6-1 and fell to 7-33 on the season. Eastern will play St. Louis Tuesday at Coaches Stadium.

Maher Kawash, Staff Reporter

In the midst of a rebuilding season, the Eastern baseball team continues its journey with another single-game matchup.

The Panthers continue their home stand Tuesday afternoon against Saint Louis and are coming off a 6-1 loss to Belmont Sunday.

Eastern is 7-33 on the season and saw its record drop with another series loss over the weekend.

The struggles have been reoccurring this season for the Panthers, and a large part of that has been because of the lack of depth from the pitching staff.

Eastern ranks ninth in the Ohio Valley Conference pitching and hold a 7.91 team ERA.

Well as the season’s end nears, the pitching staff is reaching its limit.

With junior Michael McCormick injured and the need to give other guys rest, Eastern coach Jason Anderson is struggling to put a consistent arm on the mound.

As for this single-game matchup, it will be Jake Haberer who gets the start against Saint Louis.

Haberer has struggled for most of this season, and recent performances prove that.

The junior has pitched 27 innings in 18 games this season, and he has a 9.33 ERA to show for it.

Haberer has allowed 30 runs in his last ten appearances but does hold a 1-2 record this year.

While Haberer attempts to find his rhythm on the mound, the Eastern offense will have to step up at the plate.

The offense has seen some recent success from its young core of players, and some sophomores continue to be leaders.

Sophomores Joseph Duncan and Cale Hennemann continue to bat one and two in the lineup, and their statistics are also atop the Panthers team.

Duncan has succeeded out of the leadoff spot this season, and has a .307 batting average with 12 RBIs and 23 runs scored.

Hennemann is the top dog of the offense so far this year as he leads Eastern with a .323 batting average and 25 RBIs so far.

Hennemann’s 17 walks also lead the Panthers, and he was the hero last week with a walk-off single to defeat Illinois College in extra-innings.

Sophomore Frankie Perrone has also seen his play improve at the plate in recent games.

Perrone has just a .248 batting average this season, but he went 5-for-14 in the weekend series while producing an RBI in all three games.

While those three set the tempo for their team, some freshman have emerged in the offense of late as well.

Freshman Dane Toppel gave his best heroic efforts in game two of the series against Belmont over the weekend.

Toppel scored the game-tying run in the eighth, and scrambled home for the game-winning run in the 10th inning on a wild pitch to give the Panthers their only win of the series.

Toppel has also maintained a .271 batting average on nine RBIs, 32 hits, and 21 runs scored.

As the offense searches for consistency, Eastern’s focus has turned to rebuilding its program.

With 33 losses on the year, things seem much worse than they actually are for the team.

15 of the Panthers’ 33 losses have come by two runs or less, but the team has also struggled on its home field.

Eastern is just 3-8 at Coaches Stadium this season as the other four wins have come on the road.

Following this game against Saint Louis, the Panthers will take on Indiana State in another home game.

Eastern will then hit the road once again for another weekend OVC series against Eastern Kentucky.

First pitch against Saint Louis Tuesday is at 3 p.m. at Coaches Stadium.


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