Panthers take on 1st place Tennessee Tech

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Panthers take on 1st place Tennessee Tech

Junior Carson Haws throws a pitch in the Panthers’ loss to Indiana State March 20 at Coaches Stadium. Eastern’s Thursday game against Tennessee Tech got moved to Friday for a doubleheader to start the three-game series.

Junior Carson Haws throws a pitch in the Panthers’ loss to Indiana State March 20 at Coaches Stadium. Eastern’s Thursday game against Tennessee Tech got moved to Friday for a doubleheader to start the three-game series.

Sean Hastings

Junior Carson Haws throws a pitch in the Panthers’ loss to Indiana State March 20 at Coaches Stadium. Eastern’s Thursday game against Tennessee Tech got moved to Friday for a doubleheader to start the three-game series.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Junior Carson Haws throws a pitch in the Panthers’ loss to Indiana State March 20 at Coaches Stadium. Eastern’s Thursday game against Tennessee Tech got moved to Friday for a doubleheader to start the three-game series.

Adam Shay, Baseball Reporter

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After Tuesday’s game cancellation, the Eastern baseball team continues its conference play as it hosts Tennessee Tech this weekend in a three-game series.

The rain pushed Thursday’s game to Friday morning at 11 a.m. Eastern will play a doubleheader Friday and finish off the series Saturday as scheduled.

On the season, the Golden Eagles have an overall record of 18-5 and are 8-1 in conference play, whereas the Panthers’ 1-5 conference play puts them in 10th place.

What has propelled the Golden Eagles’ success this season has been their consistent and OVC-leading offense. Statistically, their offense has blown the competition off the field, with a team average of .357, scoring 255 runs on the season.

Despite their high-powered offense, the Golden Eagles will have a tough matchup against the Panthers’ pitching. So far on the season, the Panthers’ pitching has been their backbone as the team ranks third in the OVC with a 5.39 team ERA.

“I think we need our starting pitching to give us longer outings than we’ve been having before going to the bullpen,” junior pitcher Carson Haws said.

The bullpen has been consistent this season, led by sophomore relief pitcher Jack Wolfe and senior closer Michael Starcevich. Wolfe this season has a 2.35 ERA in 15.1 innings pitched, followed by Starcevich’s 2.49 ERA and four saves, having him tied for second in the OVC.

On the season, the Panthers’ offense has been inconsistent, ranging from high scoring wins to being shut out.

“We just have to control what we can control,” senior centerfielder Joseph Duncan said. “Having good quality at-bats, staying within ourselves, and not trying to do too much. It’s just a matter of time until it clicks this year.”

The problem for the Panthers has not been getting runners on base and in scoring position, but the ability to drive those players in. There are six players that have a .370 on-base percentage, led by redshirt junior catcher Josh Turnock that leads the team with a .468 OBP.

Unlike their previous games, the Panthers will have all their suspended players back, giving them more depth in the lineup. Haws said he thinks everyone is happy to have all the Panthers together for the series.

Going off standings, the Panthers are an underdog against the Golden Eagles, especially coming off a sweep to Murray State. Regardless, the team knows the potential they have and are not worried about who they face.

“I think we can surprise them in all aspects of our game,” Duncan said. “Our team showed that we can put it all together, especially at Memphis. It’s in us, we just have to go out and do it.”

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