Softball preparing for first road conference games


Sean Hastings

Kylie Pelker fires the ball across the infield to Amber Toenyes for the out in the Panthers 9-1 win over Tennessee State on Sunday. Pelker had two RBIs in the win.

JJ Bullock, Softball Reporter


The Eastern Illinois softball team will look to carry momentum from their successful 3-1 weekend last week, into a weekend series with the ice-cold Southeast Missouri Redhawks

Southeast Missouri is on a seven game losing streak and is just 1-9 on their last ten games.  They have scored just runs over that span, ten of them coming in one game against Kansas City.

While the Redhawks had no problems hitting the ball, hitting .304 as a team, it’s been bringing people on base to score that’s been an issue for them. They rank just seventh in the conference with 146 runs scored.

A matchup with a lineup struggling to score runs should bode well for an Eastern pitching staff that has been pitching well as of late.

Outside of a rocky outing in the first game last weekend from  Jessica Wireman, both pitchers were on their game and watched their ERA’s come down to 2.80 for Wireman and 2.53 for  Michelle Rogers.

“They both have been working really hard and turning it on in conference play,” senior catcher Ashlynne Paul said. “They have been really focusing on making the ball move and throwing it in the river.”

With Southeast Missouri struggling and Eastern on a three-game winning streak, the team is feeling good heading into this weekend.

“I would say we are pretty confident,”  Paul said. “We have had a good week of practice preparing ourselves for these two games (against the Redhawks). We definitely have momentum from the previous weekend with a three-game winning streak.”

The matchup with the Redhawks will be the first conference road matchup for the Panthers. Eastern played its first 28 games away from Williams Field and came out of it with a 14-14 record.

Eastern is currently in a four-way tie for first place in the conference with a 3-1 record, so if it can grab both games from Southeast Missouri, it will put them securely in first place.

The only problem Eastern faced was having a good start. Eastern fell into a hole and were forced to make comebacks, and as much as coach Kim Schuette loved the Panthers toughness to come back and win those games, getting a good start is going to be key.

Both Rogers and Wireman pitched well in the series, but it took them an inning or two to get settled in. Both pitchers gave up early first inning runs, but after that shut down the opposing batters.

JJ Bullock can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812