Softball takes two of three from SIUE


Sean Hastings

Senior first baseman Kylie Bennett shined on senior day hitting two home runs in game one, breaking the single-season home run record.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

The Panthers took two of three games against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville to continue their strong play in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Eastern softball team improved its record to 15-7 to have sole possession of the No. 3 spot in the standings heading into the final weekend of the season. The Panthers are right behind Eastern Kentucky at 15-6.

Eastern got a pair of wins by scores of 4-3 and 4-1 behind the bat of senior first baseman Kylie Bennett who drove in four runs over the weekend.

After not playing the final three games of last weekend’s games against Belmont and Tennessee State, Bennett came back strong this weekend hitting a home run in the first and second game.

“Being benched last weekend was really hard because of course I want to help my team as much as I can,” Bennett said. “I wasn’t producing last weekend like I should have been. This weekend felt really good. I needed this for myself as well as to help the team. It helped my confidence going into senior weekend for sure.”

Senior April Markowski opened the scoring in the fourth inning to give Eastern a 1-0 lead after stealing third and scoring on an error by the third baseman. Bennett homered in the sixth to make it 3-0.

The Eastern seniors took care of driving in the runs in the first game as Haylee Beck drove in the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville tied the game in the sixth inning.

Freshman Jessica Wireman dominated in the circle allowing just one hit that came in the sixth inning. All three runs were unearned after three errors in the inning.

Eastern had its 11-game OVC win streak snapped in the second game of the series but got right back on track in the final game of the series.

Once again, it was the seniors who took care of driving in the runs as Katie Watson, Bennett and Beck drove in all four runs.

Eastern jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Watson and Bennett hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the first inning. Watson was not on the bases for long as Bennett drove her in right after Watson drove in Beck.

Beck added another late insurance run in the seventh inning with an RBI single that drove in freshman center fielder Kayla Bear. Bear went 2-4 in the game.

Bennett went 3-4 in the game with two doubles and a home run. She almost had a second home run as her second double of the game hit the top of the fence, and bounced straight in the air and fell back into play.

“I try not to think about it,” Bennett said. “I just approach each at bat as a new one, and of course when I’m doing well, it’s easier to go into it with a confident attitude. I am really happy with the team’s overall performance this weekend. We are all very excited for the tournament.”
Wireman turned in another dominating performance pitching all seven innings allowing just one run on five hits. Wireman didn’t get the strikeouts she usually does, but got the Cougars to fly out 14 times.

She improved her record to 15-17 and lowered her ERA down to 3.18.

The home run ball downed the Panthers in game two as they lost 3-1 with all three runs being scored by way of a home run. Tess Eby hit two home runs for the Cougars.

Eastern outhit Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, but those long balls were killer.

Junior Amber Toenyes got the start at the designated hitter position this weekend and led the Panthers with two hits. Junior Andrea Roberts drove in the team’s only run in the sixth inning with a single to centerfield, bringing in pinch runner Taylor Monahan.

Sophomore pitcher Michelle Rogers was handed the loss in the game. She went four innings and allowed two runs on three hits.

Eastern will celebrate senior weekend next weekend against Southeast Missouri.


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