Baseball captures first win of season


Justin Brown

Sophomore infielder Jimmy Govern prepares to throw to first base after fielding a ground ball in a preseason scrimmage Monday, Feb. 13 at O’Bien Field.

Maher Kawash, Baseball Reporter


The Eastern baseball team has struggled holding early leads to begin the new season until that all changed Sunday afternoon.

The Panthers were in Central Arkansas for an annual series against the Bears, and despite three losses to begin the series, Eastern found its first win of the season.

To begin this season Eastern has fallen to opponents after getting ahead early on, but this time around the Panthers capitalized on a two-run lead taken in the fourth inning and never looked back.

The first runs came early on as both teams traded jabs in the first two innings with the score tied at two as the Panthers pitching was having one of its best games all season.

Eastern was led by freshman pitcher Alex Stevenson on the mound as he started the game and finished with five strong innings with just two runs given up.

The Panthers’ two runs in the fourth were earned somewhat unconventionally as Joseph Duncan walked with the bases loaded to spark the 3-2 lead.

Andrew Curran followed a similar trend to knock in the next run as he was hit by the pitch to push the lead to 4-2 which is all the Panthers needed with the bullpen doing well.

Brent Stephens came into relieve Stevenson on the mound for Eastern and led the way until Michael Starcevich closed things out to earn his first save and give the Panthers their first win.

The win pushes their record to 1-6 on the young campaign, and was the only bright spot of a long weekend.

The first three games saw plenty of struggles for Eastern, scoring just two runs combined in games two and three while a late rally fell short in game one.

That rally was needed in game one after the pitching staff struggled again behind a start from Brendon Allen on the mound.

Allen fell to 0-2 with the 10-6 loss for Eastern, but the bigger problem was the team’s inability to produce runs in the first eight innings.

Other than a five-run ninth-inning rally, the Panthers scored just one run as Central Arkansas continued to attack Eastern’s pitching staff.

Games two and three followed that trend for lack of scoring, but after a similarly slow start.

In those two games, Panthers allowed four or more runs in the first two innings to put them behind just as they had all series long.

But with the first win in hand on the season, the confidence can continue to rise for the young Panthers.

Eastern gets a shot to improve on that with a tough series against Kansas State on the road this weekend.

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