Schedule, injuries causing problems for baseball team

Maher Kawash, Baseball Reporter

It is the halfway point of the college baseball season for Eastern, but the team was held out of action Wednesday evening.

The Panthers were set to host Illinois College in what would kick off a five-game home stand, but the game was postponed due to rain.

A makeup date has not been announced, but there has been more than just rain on Eastern’s schedule this season.

The Panthers have seen plenty of growth from younger guys and junior college transfers this year, but the win column still lacks.

A large part of the problem is the level of competition but also game location.

Eastern has played 23 of its first 28 games on the road this season, and it has resulted in just five wins.

It is not uncommon for a Midwest team like the Panthers to head south for the beginning part of their season considering the weather difference across the country.

But, still there is room to question Eastern’s schedule considering the struggles they have faced, in recent years, when it comes to these lengthy opening trips.

Anderson said there could be some change to that type of scheduling in the future though.

Despite any odds against this team, head coach Jason Anderson still carries plenty of confidence in his players and the rest of the season.

“We have a good group of guys that are ready to go out and face these obstacles, and it’s showed in the games we’ve played,” Anderson said. “Yeah, we need to win more games, but the games we’ve been in we’ve competed.”

The Panthers have shown it even in some of their most recent losses such as the series finale against Tennessee Tech.

Eastern was in position to win the game until three runs in the bottom of the eighth from the Golden Eagles lost them the game.

That has been the trend of this season for Eastern as the team continues to search for a complete game where it does not lose a late lead.

Anderson said reducing walks is a major key for his pitching staff to improve as the team has already given up 170 this year.

To put that into perspective, Southeast Missouri, the Panthers’ upcoming opponent, has walked just 66 batters this season.

So, the room for improvement is there, but it is clear Anderson and his team are growing, and a fine example is the development of the batting order.

Anderson said there has been some injuries already this season in the lineup so there has not been too much room to tweak anything.

The rainout gave Eastern another day of rest, which could be capitalized on when Southeast Missouri comes to town for a weekend series beginning Friday.

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