Eastern takes on Belmont


Justin Brown

Third baseman Dougie Parks throws out Illinois Springfield’s Ben Schanding in the sixth inning of the Panthers 18-11 win Tuesday at Coaches Stadium.

Tyler McCluskey, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern baseball team will head to Nashville to take on Ohio Valley Conference opponent Belmont Thursday for a three-game series.

The Panthers’ (7-25, 3-9) hitting exploded in their 18-11 win Tuesday against Illinois-Springfield. The team totaled seven home runs with two coming from junior Joe Duncan and sophomore Jimmy Govern each. Govern had eight RBIs in the win and it was the first time since the 2015 season that a Panther had 6 or more RBIs in a game. The last to do it was Brant Valach. Govern also added to his hit streak, extending it to 12 games.

The other home runs came from redshirt junior Frankie Perrone, junior Matt Albert, and redshirt sophomore Nicholas McCormick. Albert has 11 home runs on the season and is ranked third in the OVC.

In total, there were 13 pitchers in the game against the Prairie Stars; five for the Panthers and eight for UIS. Starting pitcher junior Dustin Wilson only went two innings, giving up five hits and five runs. The usual closer junior Michael Starcevich was the winning pitcher who came in the seventh inning. Starcevich went two innings giving up only two hits and had one run with two strikeouts.

The Panthers will send redshirt junior Jake Haberer to the mound for game one. Haberer is making his fifth start and is 0-2 in nine appearances. He has a 5.81 ERA and has 30 strikeouts on the season.

For game two, the Panthers will send senior Michael McCormick. McCormick is 0-4 in eight appearances and has an ERA of 5.98 with 31 strikeouts. A game three starter has not been announced.

As for Belmont, they come into this matchup with a 9-6 record in OVC play which is third best and have a 14-17 overall record.

The Bruins are on a three-game losing streak. They lost 10-4 against non-conference opponent Middle Tennessee and lost two to Austin Peay, 10-8, 6-2.

Belmont will send to the mound Tyler Vaughn for game one. Vaughn is 2-4 in eight games this season with a 5.72 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 50.1 innings, which is tied for second best in the OVC with teammate Dylan King. King will start game two and also is 2-4 in eight games, posting a 4.44 ERA.

On the hitting side of things, Nick Egli leads the Bruins with a .380 batting average, 38 hits, six homeruns, 14 doubles, 23 RBIs and runs, .470 on-base percentage, and a slugging percentage of .740.

In the last meeting between the two, Belmont came on top 6-1. The series is tied at 8-8 with a tie. Game one is Thursday at 4 p.m. and game two is Friday at 4 p.m. and game three is at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Tyler McCluskey can be reached at [email protected] or at 581-2812