After a weekend series loss to Jacksonville State, Eastern head coach Jason Anderson wanted one specific thing to come from this week’s single-game matchups: offense.
The Panthers gave their coach just that against Indiana State Tuesday, despite a start that seemed like Eastern was going to continue its offensive drought, mustering just one hit until the fourth inning.
That fourth inning washed away plenty of frustration offensively from recent games as home runs from Senior Matt Albert and redshirt junior Josh Turnock erased an eight-run Eastern deficit while bringing the score to 8-6.
Yes, the Panthers found their offensive stride, but there were holes in other places.
Eastern’s pitching has been a strong suit of the team’s success this season as the depth of the staff has allowed several guys to come in and produce outs when needed.
That was hardly the case against the Sycamores.
It was the struggle to find a quality start that hurt Eastern in this one as senior Dustin Wilson lasted just 1.2 innings on the mound while yielding four runs.
Then to make matters worse, junior Carson Haws just could not hit his spots as he allowed two runs and one walk.
Redshirt senior senior Jake Haberer gave his best efforts to salvage the game in the middle innings, but a few hard-hit balls down the first base line stunted that as he was pulled after allowing two runs in the sixth en route to earning the loss on the day with four runs allowed in 2.1 innings pitched.
The biggest takeaway from single-game matchups like this one is the spurts of potential this team flashes.
Whether it’s the 9-5 win last weekend against Jacksonville State, or the fourth inning of flashy offense against Indiana State, the Panthers have a chance to do some damage.
While it ends in a 10-8 loss for Eastern, this is the type of game that needs to be won considering how tough the Panthers’ schedule can get.
Eastern’s ability to bring it within two in the late innings was almost enough, but the hole that was dug earlier in the game proved to be too much.
Clearly a team is not always going to get a complete game where everything goes right, but there are certain times where it is really needed; such as this opportunity to gain some momentum on Eastern’s home turf.
Eastern has now dropped three of its four home games to start the season with just one more non-conference games left this week before hitting the road over the weekend to dip back into Ohio Valley Conference action.
Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]