Golden Eagles score 24 straight to beat Panthers


Sean Hastings

Junior second baseman Jimmy Govern throws the ball to first to get Tennessee Tech’s Alex Junior. Tennessee Tech swept the Panthers this weekend and Eastern dropped to 1-8 in OVC play on the season.

Adam Shay, Baseball Reporter

After a game time of 4 hours, 51 minutes, 24 unanswered runs, and a meteor shower of home runs, Sunday’s loss against Tennessee Tech is a game to forget for the Eastern baseball team.

Looking to avoid being swept this weekend, the Panthers were greeted with an incredible offensive explosion as the Golden Eagles tallied a 26-11 win. Those 26 runs were totaled by 24 hits, as well as six of those hits being home runs.

“These guys are good,” coach Jason Anderson said. “This is a really good team and this is probably the best OVC team I have ever seen. They have the capability to do what they did today.”

Up until the sixth inning, the Golden Eagles’ offense was under control by junior starting pitcher Spenser Dexter. Through four innings, Dexter held the Golden Eagles to two earned runs on five hits, also striking out six batters.

Anderson said he was proud for five innings today, but it was not enough to beat them, and overcoming obstacles is something the Panthers are not good at.

Once the sixth inning began, the Golden Eagles showed off their No. 1 rated offense in the OVC by scoring 11 runs. To get the ball flying, the inning began with back-to-back solo shots from third baseman Trevor Putzig and designated hitter Kevin Strohschein.

Now, the score 10-4, senior pitcher Dustin Wilson was taken out of the game and replaced by freshman Blake Malatestinic. After retiring only one batter out of four, Malatestinic was taken out after allowing a two-RBI double to catcher Brennon Kaleiwahea.

Junior pitcher Carson Haws struggled on the mound Sunday, only recording one out after seeing six batters. Haws allowed seven runs, including two three-run home runs from centerfielder Alex Junior and second baseman John Ham.

Despite the one-sided score, the first half of the game was controlled by the Panthers. Through the first five innings, the Panthers had a commanding 10-2 lead, largely attributed to redshirt junior first baseman Hunter Morris and his six-RBI outing.

Four of those six RBI’s came in the fifth inning when Morris launched his second grand slam of the season over the centerfield wall.

“It was awesome,” Morris said. “We’ve been struggling hitting with runners in scoring position, so it was nice to be able to step up and get a big hit.”

Because of the high-scoring three game series, the Panthers and Golden Eagles had to use more pitchers than usual. In Sunday’s game, 12 pitchers were used and eight for the Panthers, causing sore players to pitch while not having their senior closer Michael Starcevich available.

Sunday’s game consisted of consistent hitting and pitching through five innings, but as the game went on, their aggressive nature was left behind.

“(We have to) be more aggressive and prepared,” Anderson said. “We do not play aggressive enough to win ball games, but I do feel like we are prepared to win and it showed today, they were just more aggressive.”

Eastern dropped Friday’s and Saturday’s games by scores of 9-3 and 10-6.

Friday’s game’s seventh inning was also the story of a couple home runs putting the Panthers in a hole.

The Panthers got it within one run in the sixth inning after junior Jimmy Govern drove in senior Dougie Parks on a single.

Tennessee Tech hit two home runs in the top of the seventh spoiling Eastern’s chance at a comeback, coming away with an 8-2 lead at the end of the seventh after leading 3-2 entering.

Eastern almost made a comeback in game two of the series, but Tennessee Tech’s offense once again put the Panthers to rest.

Eastern made it 7-5 in the eighth inning, but the Golden Eagles tacked on three more runs to win the game.

The Panthers next game is Tuesday at 3 p.m. against non-conference opponent Illinois State at Coaches Stadium.

Eastern gets back into OVC play  Friday agaisnt Southeast Missouri.

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