Panthers seeking momentum on road


Justin Brown

Junior first baseman Matt Albert connects with a pitch from a Southern Illinois University Carbondale pitcher Wednesday at Coaches Stadium. Albert is currently tied-3rd in the OVC conference with 10 home runs.

Maher Kawash, Baseball reporter

The Eastern baseball team is back on the road and searching for any type of momentum after a sweeping weekend.

The 5-22 Panthers head to Saint Louis Tuesday evening for a single-game matchup against the Billikens.

The matchup comes after an up and down weekend which evidently only resulted in a three-game sweep of the Panthers by Tennessee Tech.

This time around, Eastern does not have to face a first-place team in Saint Louis, but it will still be a tough matchup as the Billikens come in at 17-8.

The Panthers will roll out Chase Thurston to the mound in his seventh appearance and second start of the season.

Thurston will also try to do more of what he did in his last start, which was a winning effort against Southern Illinois-Carbondale.

That win was his only of the season so far, but he also boasts one of the lower ERA’s on the team with his 4.97 total.

Thurston has not put his strikeout pitch to much work this season, totaling just seven in his six appearances.

The pitching staff has been hit or miss for most of the season and the struggles have cost Eastern some games.

The bats have brought in a lot of runs for the Panthers, but the opposing teams have been putting too many runs across the plates for the Panthers to be able to catch up.

On the opposing side, the Billikens send out a right-handed freshman to the mound to control Eastern’s lineup.

Garrett Action is the starter and he comes into the game with a 4.09 ERA on the year.

The Panthers will try to rely on Matt Albert and others to anchor the batting lineup as he continues his power strike.

Albert is fresh off another multi home run game against Tennessee Tech, and he comes in with 10 total on the season.

That also ranks third in the entire Ohio Valley Conference.

Logan Beaman is also on a roll as he has reached base in 14-straight games, but he is not the only one in the lineup with a hitting streak.

Jimmy Govern has hit safely in seven straight games while providing .536 average at the plate over that stretch.

Govern is hitting .315 overall this season. He has played in 18 games, with 13 of those being starts.

Dougie Parks joins the club with an eight-game streak of his own in which he has hit .485 with two home runs and 13 RBIs.

Parks has been the second biggest run producer for the Panthers this season with 24 RBIs.

He is 10 behind Albert who has driven in 34 runs in his first year in an Eastern baseball uniform. His 10 homers have played a big part into that.

The lineup will need those guys to take down a Saint Louis team that ranks first in the Atlantic 10 conference with a team ERA of 3.53.

It does not stop there either for the Billikens as they also rank first in their conference with a .286 team average.

Following this single-game matchup, the Panthers return home for another one against Illinois College.

It will be the beginning of another five-game home stand for Eastern, and its first five-game home stand resulted in three wins.

But as for the Panthers’ game with Saint Louis, they are set for a first pitch at 6 p.m.

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