Eastern to take on Fort Wayne in non-conference home game


Sean Hastings

Junior short stop Kiley Pelker fields a ground ball in the Panthers’ 3-1 win over Tennessee-Martin in the first game of the doubleheader Friday at Williams Field.

JJ Bullock, Softball Reporter


The Eastern softball team will finish off its three-game home stand as they host the ailing Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne Mastodons Tuesday at Williams Field.

The Mastodons are 2-8 in their last 10 games and are struggling overall this season with a 9-31 (2-7 conference) record.

Eastern head coach Kim Schuette is not focused on Fort Wayne’s struggles however.

“We played IPFW earlier this year, but honestly, today in practice we focused on us, on our own team,” Schuette said. “We did several fundamentals and corrected a few miscues that have happened lately.”

Much of Fort Wayne’s struggles this season can be attributed to their pitching staff which is sporting a Summit League high in both ERA (5.72) and walks (154).

Schuette is also making sure to tackle Fort Wayne struggling pitching staff the way she would take on any other.

“Every day is a new opportunity. I cannot make any promises except our shoes will be clean, our shirts tucked in and we will hustle, I know the blue team (Eastern) will work hard,” she said. “I have not really looked at their numbers lately because today was all about us; the blue team.”

The matchup for Eastern is their first non-conference game since they beat Butler 2-0 and will be their first non-conference home game of the season. The game presents Schuette the opportunity to try some new players in the lineup.

“We will work hard in warmups and have an opportunity to compete,” Schuette said. “Competition is everywhere in life and tomorrow it will be on the field. I hope to see a few more players and combinations as well.”

On offensive, the Mastodons boast the Summit Leagues top hitter in battering average, Lauren Watson is hitting .354 with 11 stolen bases this season.

Along with Watson, Brooke Imel is hitting .345 with a team-high .422 on base percentage.

The team as a whole ranks just sixth in the conference with a .254 team batting average.

Things will not get any easier for the Mastodon lineup as they will face an Eastern pitching staff that has been very hot over the last month.

Staff ace Jessica Wireman is coming off another good game where she went seven innings and struck out seven batters in the process, bring her season total to a team-high 127.

Her counterpart Michelle Rogers also had a good outing her last game, she too, went seven innings and gave up just one run.

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