Softball has first losing tournament of season

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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After coming out of its first two weekends with winning records, the Eastern softball team suffered its first losing-record weekend.

The Panthers came out strong to start with a 7-0 shutout over the Southern Illinois Carbondale, but would drop the next three games by no more than three runs each.

Freshman Haley Mitchell kept up her tear this weekend and drove in seven more runs this weekend. She has 19 RBIs on the season, through 14 games. Mitchell hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning against Southern Illinois to make it 7-0.

And newly noted power hitter sophomore Kayla Bear hit her third home run of the season. Bear did not hit a home run in 53 games played and 171 at bats. So now the Panthers’ speedy leadoff hitter, is not only a base stealing threat, she may be a home run threat now too.

Junior Michelle Rogers continued to dominate in the circle. She pitched six shutout innings and allowed just four hits giving freshman Allison Golic an easy seventh inning to close out the game.

Rogers picked up her fifth win of the season and improved to 5-1. She earned a win and a loss in two other games later in the weekend and is 6-2 overall.

Mississippi State got to junior Jessica Wireman right out of the gates in game two of the weekend with Reggie Harrison hitting a first inning two-run home run to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs scored another run in the second inning of an error by Mady Poulter. Eastern got one run back in the third inning, but that was it and Mississippi State tacked on one more run off a home run by Olivia Golden to make it 4-1.

Eastern has seen a lot of North Florida so far this season, having split the first two meetings, but it was North Florida to get the win this time.

Mitchell doubled in the first inning and drove in two runs, but it was all North Florida from there out. North Florida picked up three runs in the bottom half of the first inning.

The Ospreys added another run in the fourth and the score stayed at 4-2.

The unearned runs hurt the Panthers this game. Rogers delivered three innings and allowed four runs, but only two of them were earned. Golic shut down the Ospreys in the final three innings.

Just as the Panthers did in last weekend’s tournament, they got revenge on North Florida in the final game of the weekend and in nine innings.

Eastern scored two runs on an error by right fielder Taylor Aguayo to tie the game at 3.

And Mitchell took care of the rest in the ninth inning and drove in the walk-off winning run on a single to right center field to score Bear.

Golic started for the Panthers and went 3.1 innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. Rogers came in and shut down the Ospreys, pitching the remaining 5.2 innings and gave up no runs on three hits.

The Panthers also split their meetings with Southern. The Salukis were able to take down the Panthers 7-5 on Saturday.

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