Baseball has potential to be a better team

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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The Eastern baseball team has struggled to improve off of last years’ 13-36 overall record, but so many games this season could have gone their way.

The Panthers have lost 15 games this season by two or fewer runs. It seems like when the team is hitting, the pitchers struggle on the mound or the hitters struggle and the pitchers have strong outings.

Despite the team’s struggle to wins games, they have a few guys on the team who have strong seasons at the plate.

Sophomore Cale Hennemann has had a solid year at the plate for the Panthers as he is batting .323. Hennemann has been one of the Panthers’ everyday starters playing second base. The sophomore second baseman has started all 40 games for the Panthers this season.

With the Panthers’ team being very young with 18 sophomores and freshman on the team, another year of experience can make all the difference for Eastern’s baseball team moving forward.

Eastern also has five players on the team who have driven in more than 15 runs. Hennemann leads the team with 25 RBIs.

The problem with the runs the Panthers drive in is that they get over matched by the number of runs their opponents score on them.

Eastern has given up 351 runs to their 184 runs scored. So the Panthers will need to score many more runs to stay in the game with some of the opponents they play.

There have been six occasions where Eastern has allowed more than 15 runs. Three times they have allowed more than 20. Realistically, it is very difficult for any team to score that many runs. Sometimes a team cannot even score that many runs in an entire three-game series.

It would be even more out of the ordinary to see two teams scoring that many runs.

Just last weekend, the Panthers had a 7-3 lead in the sixth inning and eventually lost the game, 21-9. A 7-3 lead should almost be safe enough for a team to get a win.

Eastern has just had a problem holding onto leads that they do happen to get. Eastern was tied with Tennessee Tech April 9 before surrendering a grand slam in the top of the ninth to eventually lose the game, 8-6.

Going back to the 15 two-run losses, Eastern has to just score runs at the key moments.

Another issue that could be erased is letting teams have one big inning. When the Panthers took on the Fighting Illini at Illinois, the Panthers were trailing just 4-2, but a five-run fifth inning put the game too far out of reach.

Eastern got five runs back in the seventh and the eighth, but the five runs the Fighting Illini scored in the fifth, made it too big of a comeback.

Now Eastern may have a pretty bad record, but 15 games could have gone the other way for them, and just a few demoralizing innings have made it that way. Fix that and the Eastern baseball team could be a team everyone is talking about for its success.


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