The Daily Eastern News

Baseball team to take on SEC Ole Miss

Adam Shay, Baseball Reporter

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After Tuesday’s cancellation against Missouri, the Eastern baseball team travels to Oxford, Mississippi, to play Ole Miss in a three-game series.

Instead of the Panthers playing games Friday through Sunday, due to inclement weather near Ole Miss, Saturday’s game will be moved to Friday for a doubleheader. The first game will start at 3 p.m. and approximately 45 minutes after the first, the second game will be played.

This will be the Panthers’ first doubleheader of the season and according to their schedule, the only doubleheader they will have this season. Even though both games are only separated by 45 minutes, the Panthers have not made any changes to their game plan.

“Besides maybe getting a little extra rest the night before (we will not change our approach),” said senior centerfielder Joe Duncan. “We will treat it like any other day at the ballpark, business as usual.”

On the year, Duncan has played in all 10 games and has a .295 batting average. Duncan also ranks second on the team with 13 hits, six runs scored and has a .404 on-base percentage.

Prior to this series, the Panthers lost three straight against Georgia State, ending their five-game win streak. The team will be put to the test and see how they match up against a top 10 team.

“This is a great weekend to show how we can bounce back from some losses and get the ball rolling with the talent we have,” said redshirt junior pitcher Hunter Clark.

Ole Miss has been close to perfect this season as after 13 games, they have a 12-1 record and are 10-0 at home. Currently, the team is on a four-game winning streak, scoring over double digit runs the past three games and outscoring their opponents 33-7.

Despite only playing in eight games, junior infielder Chase Cockrell leads the team with a .478 batting average and .738 slugging percentage. Ole Miss has four other players hitting above .300 and only three starters hitting under .280.

As for its pitching, Ole Miss pitchers have been lights out this season. Three of its starting pitchers have ERA’s under 2.00, more impressively, junior James McArthur. Through 15.1 innings pitched and three games started, his ERA is 0.59 allowing only one run so far.

The Panthers, this season, have been stellar on defense, leading the OVC in fielding percentage and least amount of errors. Since defense has worked for them all year, the team will stick to their normal game plan to beat Ole Miss.

“(We need to be) playing up to our capabilities as a team,” Duncan said. “I’d say just playing fundamental baseball throughout the weekend.”

Clark also agrees that playing good fundamental baseball all around will put the Panthers in the best situation to win.

“We must play our game and can’t go out there trying to do things that we don’t normally do, just because it’s an SEC team,” Clark said.

On Friday, the first game will be played at 3 p.m. and the second game does not have an estimated start time yet. On Sunday, the game will start at 1:30 p.m.

Adam Shay can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

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Baseball team to take on SEC Ole Miss