Baseball continues game-filled week on the road


Justin Brown

Eastern first baseman Matt Albert catches a throw from second baseman Jimmy Govern for the third out of the 7th inning Wednesday at Coaches Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Salukis 10-7 to earn their third victory in a row and move their recond on the season to 5-19, 2-4 OVC.

Maher Kawash, Baseball Reporter

The Eastern baseball team has the most momentum it has had all season and faces the test of keeping it alive in conference play. The Panthers made the most of their five-game home stand with a 3-2 finish, but now return to the road against Tennessee Tech in a three-game series.

It is sure to be one of the toughest tests yet for this young Eastern team as the Golden Eagles come in as the top team in the Ohio Valley Conference. Coming in at 20-7 overall, Tennessee Tech has translated its success quickly in conference play with a 9-0 record against OVC opponents.

Luckily for the Panthers, their bats are the hottest they have been all season long. Eastern has posted seven or more runs in its last five games, and it has been accredited to clutch hitting and home runs.

The Panthers offense will try to stay hot against three right-handers this weekend, and their strikeout pitch is what is key. The Golden Eagles starters for games one and two each have more than 30 strikeouts this season and ERA’s below 6.00.

The toughest matchup may come in game three as the Panthers face Chase Burkett who holds a sub-5.00 ERA and a 4-1 record in seven appearances this season. Opposing Tennessee Tech’s pitching staff will be Jake Haberer in game one followed by Michael McCormick in game two.

Eastern has not announced its starter for game three. Haberber spends most of his time on the mound coming out of the bullpen, and has a 3.63 ERA to show for it. He’s been able to settle in this season after somewhat of a shaky season out of the bullpen a year ago.

McCormick has not fared all that well in six games this season, boasting an ERA above 6.00. But on the bright side, he has been able to give the Panthers distance in ball games as he has pitched for more than five in his last two starts.

Those two starters face an even tougher task considering what lineup is set to face them. Tennessee State ranks atop the entire OVC in team batting as they come in with a .327 team average as well as scoring the most runs as 234. In comparison, Eastern comes in with a team batting average at .230 and just 92 runs scored this season.

Containing Ryan Flick will be a key for the Panthers as he ranks third in the OVC with a .429 batting average and 32 RBIs. Regardless of statistics, Chase Thurston feels that the team is hitting on all strides right now.

Following this three-game series, the Panthers are on the road for one more single-game matchup against Saint Louis before returning home to face Illinois College Wednesday.

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