There is no way to describe what the Eastern baseball team is doing in its most recent stretch of games.
This team is arguably the hottest team in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Panthers were sent back to reality in Sunday’s slugfest series finale against Morehead State.
While a 16-15 heartbreaking extra-inning loss brings Eastern down a bit, it does not overshadow the fact that this team was close to rallying for yet another conference series sweep.
Sunday was just as much of a rollercoaster as the entire season has been for the Panthers as they were once down by five runs in the finale.
But, neither a rain delay nor the offensive showcase from Morehead State was enough to stop Eastern from at least making this one interesting.
Jimmy Govern continues to be the latest “Jimmy G” to act heroic for an Eastern sports team, and he did so once again as he tucked a go-ahead home run ball over the left field fence in the top of the ninth inning.
But a home run in the bottom half would tie things up for Morehead State, followed by a walk-off double to center in the 10th to hand Eastern its lone loss of the weekend.
“Although the result wasn’t what we wanted, the way we fought back today tells us we’re never out of a game,” Govern said. “I don’t know how we do it sometimes, but we always find a way to battle back, which is huge going into these big games late in the year.”
The loss caps a series in which Eastern seemingly dominated all weekend long as they scored a combined 23 runs in the first two games that resulted in wins.
It is a sight fans and supporters of this program have not seen in quite some time as the Panthers continue to push toward an Ohio Valley Conference tournament berth.
If the season ended today, the Panthers would clinch a spot into that postseason tournament as the eighth and final seed.
With that being said, Eastern is just two games back of fourth place in the OVC standings with their 9-11 record.
“There is really only one way to describe it; the boys are buzzing right now,” Eastern coach Jason Anderson said. “These guys have found the confidence to win ball games, and it should be an exciting few weeks as we try to work our way into the tournament.”
If the Panthers plan on making the tournament, they will have to continue to rely on the outpour of offense from the likes of Govern and the rest of the lineup.
That home run ball also continues to be the anchor of Eastern’s offensive success as Govern saw his sixth and seventh knocked out in the weekend series.
Joe Duncan also continues to lead the Panthers atop the batting order, and his ninth home run of the season may not have been enough for a win Sunday, but it is enough for a career high.
“If we keep progressing as a team like we have been and know we can, I wouldn’t want to mess with us come tournament time,” Govern said. “It’s gonna be a fun ride, and we’re excited to see where this season takes us.”
Eastern has ten games left in the regular season and all but one are conference matchups.
Luckily for the Panthers, six of those 10 will be played at home, where the team has already racked up ten wins this season.
Eastern now returns home for a weekend series against Tennessee-Martin, beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.
Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]