OVC softball outlook

Mark Shanahan, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern softball team is nearing the end of the season with a record of 13-6 with two more series remaining.

The Panthers will take on Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on the road this weekend with a doubleheader on Friday and an afternoon game on Saturday. They then will welcome Southeast Missouri on May 7 for a doubleheader and the final game of the season on May 8.

Eastern has done well this season against conference opponents as they have a 13-6 record. They have struggled on the road however, with an overall record of 6-12 away from home. They are in the midst of a 10-game OVC winning streak after taking two games from both Belmont and Tennessee State.

The Panthers are currently third overall in the OVC, behind Eastern Kentucky and conference leader Jacksonville State. Jacksonville State has yet to lose a conference game sitting at 21-0 right now with a 32-14 overall record. Eastern Kentucky is second with a 15-5 record in the OVC and a 33-12 record overall.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville is right behind Eastern in the standings at fourth with a 13-7 record in conference. Tennessee-Martin is fifth with a 12-9 record and Morehead State is sixth with a 10-9 record. Eastern is the only team in the top six with an overall losing record.

Despite the winning record in conference, Eastern is second to last of 12 teams in the conference in team batting average with an average of .241. Jacksonville State has the highest team batting average at .317. They are at the middle of the pack with a team pitching ERA of 3.97. Eastern is third overall in the conference in team fielding with a fielding percentage of .968.

Sophomore Paige Murphy from Eastern Kentucky has the best batting average in the conference with an average of .402. She has 53 hits in 45 games resulting in 15 RBIs and 39 runs scored. Senior Ella Denes from Jacksonville State is right behind her with a batting average of .400. She has displayed her power with seven home runs and 35 RBI’s on the season. Denes has the most hits in the conference with 62 along with the most doubles.

Freshman Katie Warrick from the Tennessee-Martin is the conference leader in RBIs with 41 this season. She is also tied for first in home runs with 10 along with sophomore Alyssa Richards from Tennessee Tech. Senior Kayla Joyce from Eastern Kentucky is the leader in steals with 25 in 29 attempts.

One of the top pitchers in the conference is senior Hayley Flynn also from Eastern Kentucky. She has made 39 appearances so far this season and has an ERA of 1.93 and a 23-6 record. She leads all pitchers with 221 strikeouts with the next closest being 186. Sophomore Whitney Gillespie of Jacksonville State is another pitcher who has performed well with a 12-1 record in 18 appearances. She has also registered three saves this season.

Sophomore Callen Griffin from Tennessee Tech and Allison Rager of Murray State were named Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week. Griffin maintained a .643 batting average over five games last week. Rager had two shutout appearances last week over seven innings.

Tennessee-Martin and Tennessee Tech each suffered non-conference losses on Wednesday. Tennessee-Martin fell 3-2 to Memphis and Tennessee Tech lost 8-0 to the University of Tennessee. Austin Peay will have a doubleheader against Southeast Missouri on Friday. Those two teams along with Eastern and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville will be the only teams in action on Friday.


Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]