Panthers pick up 5th straight win

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Panthers pick up 5th straight win

Sophomore Kayla Bear slides around Tennessee State catcher Emma Colegrove’s tag at the plate in the Panthers’ 9-1 win March 25 at Williams Field.

Sophomore Kayla Bear slides around Tennessee State catcher Emma Colegrove’s tag at the plate in the Panthers’ 9-1 win March 25 at Williams Field.

Sean Hastings

Sophomore Kayla Bear slides around Tennessee State catcher Emma Colegrove’s tag at the plate in the Panthers’ 9-1 win March 25 at Williams Field.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Sophomore Kayla Bear slides around Tennessee State catcher Emma Colegrove’s tag at the plate in the Panthers’ 9-1 win March 25 at Williams Field.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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The Panthers are no stranger to late game comebacks or key late inning, two-out, three-run home runs to get Eastern on its way to an OVC win. Senior Ashlynne Paul launched a three-run shot in the fourth inning with two outs to tie game at four in Eastern’s win over Southeast Missouri Saturday.

Eastern picked up its fourth and fifth wins of the OVC portion of its schedule with a 7-5 win in game one and a 4-1 win in game two Saturday. The Panthers moved to 5-1 in OVC play and SEMO dropped to 0-6.

For whatever reason, it has taken a little bit for the Panthers’ bats to come alive and are relied on to make a comeback, but going down early has not been a problem for Eastern.

“We are just confident in ourselves and stay calm,” Paul said. “When we are relaxed and confident, we know we can get the job done and score the runs we need.”

Southeast Missouri scored one in the bottom of the first, which was answered by Eastern, and scored three more in the third, but Paul’s home run erased that and then the runs kept coming.

Junior Michelle Rogers started in the circle for the Panthers, but struggled to keep the Redhawks from crossing the plate, forcing Kim Schuette to go to junior Jessica Wireman in the third inning for relief.

Wireman shut the door on Southeast Missouri, giving up just one run in the seventh inning that did not have an effect as Eastern already had a three-run lead before.

Eastern tacked on two important runs in the top of the seventh taking advantage of back-to-back-to-back miscues by the Redhawks. Sophomore Mady Poulter started the inning off with a single, then the wheels fell off for Southeast Missouri.

Junior Kiley Pelker reached on an error, moving Poulter to second. Poulter moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on another wild pitch. Pelker scored on the next play on Paul’s sac bunt.

Eastern figured it out in the second game against the Redhawks and a lights-out performance from Wireman made that a little easier. Wireman gave up just three hits and one run in the seventh inning to pick up her ninth win of the year after getting the win in game one.

Freshman Mia Davis drove in junior Taylor Monahan on a double to left center in the first inning. Monahan singled through the left side right before Davis’ double.

En route to the Panthers’ 4-1 win in the second game of the doubleheader, freshman Haley Mitchell reached on an error that scored junior Tori Johnson. Senior Amber Toenyes picked up an RBI resulting in another earned run towards SEMO’s starting pitcher Alexis Estes.

And just for good measure, sophomore Kayla Bear knocked in a run in the seventh to give Eastern a little bit of insurance Wireman did not need.

Facing a seven-game OVC road trip a solid start was needed for Eastern after going 3-1 at home. Playing the games on the road would be a test.
The test will continue next weekend with a doubleheader Saturday against Morehead State and a doubleheader against Eastern Kentucky Sunday.

Morehead is 3-3 through its first six OVC contests and Eastern Kentucky is 3-2 to start conference play.

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