Softball team returning to action after weather cancellations

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Softball team returning to action after weather cancellations

Senior Amber Toenyes stretches off first base to catch junior Tori Johnson’s throw from third in the Panthers’ win against Tennessee-Martin April 14.

Senior Amber Toenyes stretches off first base to catch junior Tori Johnson’s throw from third in the Panthers’ win against Tennessee-Martin April 14.

Sean Hastings

Senior Amber Toenyes stretches off first base to catch junior Tori Johnson’s throw from third in the Panthers’ win against Tennessee-Martin April 14.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Senior Amber Toenyes stretches off first base to catch junior Tori Johnson’s throw from third in the Panthers’ win against Tennessee-Martin April 14.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Playing Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State was going to be four of the Panthers’ biggest games this year with all three teams being top five in the Ohio Valley Conference standings.

No makeup date for those games has been released.

Eastern hosts IUPUI Wednesday for a non-conference doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. It has been 12 days since the Panthers’ last OVC game. Eastern split the double header with Tennessee-Martin April 14 at Williams Field.

The Panthers’ doubleheader with IUPUI Wednesday will be the start of a six-game home stand. Thursday’s game against Indiana State was canceled due to bad weather in the forecast.

IUPUI has struggled a bit this year boasting a 17-26 and while it has a strong hitting team, its pitching staff has struggled to keep the runs off the board.

The Jaguars have four players hitting above .320, but the lowest ERA on the team is 4.60. Erica Tharp has a 7-15 record in 28 appearances.

And Nickole Finch, the Jaguars’ most-used pitcher has struggled even more. She is 10-10 with a 4.99 ERA in 146 innings pitched.

Those pitching staff numbers are polar opposites.

The hitting stats are about the same; four batters over .300, but juniors Jessica Wireman and Michelle Rogers have ERAs below 2.70. Wireman is 14-9 and has a 2.15 ERA. Rogers is 9-8 and has a 2.67 ERA.

Both pitchers’ success has allowed coach Kim Schuette to go to both pitchers at any time. Wireman has pitched 23 more innings than Rogers.

The Panthers are still in second place in the OVC and these games Wednesday will have no effect on their 9-3 record just behind Jacksonville State.

Eastern will stay at home Saturday and Sunday to play doubleheaders against Murray State on Saturday and Austin Peay on Sunday.

The Governors have had a tough go at things this season with a 3-11 record. Only Tennessee State has a worse record at 1-11.

Murray State picked up a win over the weekend against Belmont to improve to 7-5 in OVC games. The Racers are tied with Tennessee Tech for the fifth spot in the standings.

Pending possible makeup games for the Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State games, Eastern will have just one weekend of games remaining before the end of the season.

Eastern closes its season out at home against Southern Illinois Edwardsville, a team that has had success this year at 10-4 and in third place in the OVC standings.

Before wrapping up its season with the Cougars, the Panthers will have a Big 10 test with a road game against the Fighting Illini. It is a midweek game, but will be a good test before the final weekend of the regular season and for the OVC Tournament.

Illinois is 34-11 overall and 12-3 in conference play.

That is a week away, so right now IUPUI is what Eastern has to worry about and while it does not count towards its OVC record it is a game used to get any rust off.

The Panthers are 2-0 in non-conference games during the regular season.

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