Baseball team’s losing streak reaches four

Freshman+Nick+Maton+bunts+during+the+Panthers%27+game+against+Belmont+April+22+at+Coaches+Stadium.+The+Panthers+lost%2C+21-9.

Lauren McQueen

Freshman Nick Maton bunts during the Panthers' game against Belmont April 22 at Coaches Stadium. The Panthers lost, 21-9.

Maher Kawash, Staff Reporter

Another Ohio Valley Conference series resulted in three more losses for the Eastern baseball team as its rebuilding season continues.

The Panthers traveled south for a three-game series against Eastern Kentucky and are still without a series victory 43 games into the season.

With inclement weather in the forecast for the weekend, the two teams faced off in a doubleheader Friday, while the series finale followed Saturday.

But two chances on Friday could not result in a win, and Saturday offered a back and forth affair in game three.

The series sweep extended the Panthers losing streak to four, and they dropped to 7-36 this season.

Eastern also continues to struggle in conference matchups as its record in the OVC dropped to 2-19.

It was game three that offered the Panthers their best shot at earning a win, but six lead changes resulted in the completion of a three-game sweep.

Eastern got out to an early 1-0 lead in the third inning with an RBI single from sophomore Cale Hennemann.

After senior Jason Scholl extended the lead in the fourth with an RBI groundout, the Panthers led 2-0.

But that lead was erased quickly as Eastern Kentucky got to the Panthers’ starter Chase Thurston for three runs in the bottom of the fourth.

After exchanging leads in the fifth and seventh once again, it was the eighth inning that decided this one.

With the Panthers trailing 6-4 heading into the eighth, Eastern cut into the deficit with three more runs in the top half of the frame.

After scoring one run on a wild pitch, the Panthers got two more on a double from Frankie Perrone.

After Perrone gave Eastern the 7-6 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, it was on sophomore Andy Fisher to close things out.

But the Colonels had other plans as they got to Fisher for two runs in the bottom of the eighth to take an 8-7 lead.

The chaos would end there with no runs in the ninth, and Eastern Kentucky completed the three-game sweep.

Fisher earned the loss after allowing five runs in 3.2 innings pitched, and Thurston received a no decision.

While game three offered the most hope for the Panthers, games one and two appeared to play out like the rest of the season has.

Seven runs allowed in the final three innings proved to be another late-inning falter for this team.

Eastern mustered together 10 hits in game one but only earned three runs out of it.

The Colonels jumped out early in game one with two runs in the first on the Panther’s starter Brendon Allen.

Eastern made it a game with two runs in the fourth off of back-to-back doubles from Scholl and Matt Dunavant followed by an RBI single to tie the game from Perrone.

But most of the offense went cold after that, scoring just one run in the eighth.

Allen pitched 6.1 innings while allowing five runs, and Jake Haberer came in for relief after that.

But Haberer’s struggles continued on the season as he allowed another three runs in 1.2 innings pitched.

Haberer has now allowed a run in eight of his last ten appearances on the mound for the Panthers.

Allen was still responsible for the loss though, and Dunavant and Perrone were the only Panthers to record multiple hits in game one.

Game two of the series offered a late inning comeback by Eastern, but the Colonels put an end to that.

After senior Matt Wivinis allowed seven runs in the first six innings, the Panthers trailed 7-1.

But Eastern strung together some late runs.

The Panthers scored runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth to cut the lead to 7-5 heading into the ninth.

That was all though as the comeback attempt fell short once again, and Wivinis fell to 1-9 this season.

With their losing streak at four and 11 games left on the year, the Panthers return home now for a four-game home stand.

Eastern returns to action Friday with the beginning of a three-game conference series against Morehead State at Coaches Stadium.

 

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