Baseball team continues rebuild

Maher Kawash, Staff Reporter

Jason Anderson was brought on this past summer as the new head coach, and with expectations of turning this program around.

But not everything can change overnight as the 2016 season has been more of the same for the Panthers as the rebuild continues.

Eastern is 7-33 this season and holds a 2-16 record against OVC opponents.

The Panthers have 14 games left on the year to exceed their win total from last season, but they would need six more wins to tie that.

While the team tries to meet that win total, they have also seen a drop in the conference rankings.

The Panthers did finish last in the conference last season at 9-21, but they ranked higher in other statistical categories.

Last year, Eastern was sixth in batting and fifth in fielding, but did rank last in pitching.

2016 still offers lack of pitching depth for the Panthers, but the offense has fallen as well.

So far this season, Eastern ranks second to last in batting, last in fielding, and ninth in pitching among other OVC opponents.

Part of the reason for the drop in offense could be credited to the loss of the Panthers’ best hitter last season, Caleb Howell.

Howell led the conference with a .407 batting average while posting 35 RBIs and 74 hits.

Although Eastern’s offense has struggled this season, it is the pitching that needs the most help.

The Panthers’ ninth-ranked pitching staff holds a 7.91 ERA on the year, and has allowed the most runs in the OVC at 306.

To compare, last year’s team was ranked last in the OVC, but only allowed 390 runs while holding a lower ERA as well at 7.49.

Just one pitcher has more than one win for Eastern, and that is senior Jake Johansmeier who has two.

Brendon Allen and Matt Wivinis are the only starters with wins this season.

While the pitching staff has struggled, the team’s fielding has not helped much either.

Eastern ranks last in the OVC for team fielding this season, and that can be credited to the conference-leading 70 errors.

With that being said, there is still time for the Panthers to improve in these areas.

Eastern has 12 OVC games left among their 14 total left on the season, and six of those will be at home.

The next matchup for the Panthers will be on the road to take on Eastern Kentucky in a three-game weekend series.

Eastern will follow that with another OVC three-game series against Morehead State at Coaches Stadium.

The Panthers will need to win eight of their last 12 conference games to exceed their win total in the OVC from last season.

Eastern will continue to rely on its young talent to keep growing while the seniors mentor the team to a strong end of the season.

The Panthers have 21 underclassmen on the team, and that could result in brighter days ahead for the team.

The future success continues to be the ultimate goal for the Panthers, but for now the focus is improvement for this young program.


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