Baseball team takes two-of-three from Belmont


Karina Delgado

Junior Tyler Jones fires a pitch in Eastern’s game one win over Belmont Friday at Coaches Stadium. Jones got the win in the game after pitching six innings and giving up three earned runs. The Panthers took two-of-three from the Bruins.

Adam Shay, Baseball Reporter

Despite losing Sunday’s game, the Eastern baseball team bounced back this weekend as they defeated Belmont twice in a three-game series.

As of recently, the Panthers have been struggling to manufacture runs with runners in scoring position. That was not the case in their two victories as Friday, when the Panthers won 8-6, their highest run total since April 1, and in their 6-2 victory Saturday.

The Panthers were efficient at the plate as those 14 runs were scored on 24 hits, none of those runs coming from home runs. The hitters really came through and got the big hit when the Panthers needed them, senior closer Michael Starcevich said.

Offensively, the team was not reliant on specific players as eight different Panthers had at least one RBI and three players driving in three RBI’s. During the second game, senior catcher Matt Albert and sophomore catcher Ryan Knernschield both drove in three runs.

In the series finale, the Panthers lost 5-2 as Belmont’s junior pitcher Casey Queener nearly went the distance, pitching eight innings and allowing two hits. Both of the hits were home runs by senior centerfielder Joseph Duncan and junior second baseman Jimmy Govern.

The difference between the two Panther victories compared to their loss was the team’s strikeout total. In the first two games, the team had a total of nine strikeouts, whereas in the third game, the Panthers eclipsed that total with 11 batters rung up.

Aside from their offense, the pitching was consistent over the weekend, allowing 13 runs and 27 hits. Compared to the Panthers’ timely hitting, the pitchers did not allow Belmont as many chances to score the runners from second and third.

“(Pitching coach) Julio Godinez did a great job scouting Belmont’s hitters and really kept them off balance at the plate,” Starcevich said. “As long as I and the other pitchers execute the pitches, we had a good chance at being successful.”

Starcevich was awarded his sixth save of the season on Friday as he threw three innings, only allowing two hits. The starter for that game, junior Tyler Jones, had another solid outing as he threw six innings, only being charged three of the six Belmont runs.

Sophomore pitcher Alex Stevenson found his rhythm in Saturday’s game, earning his second win of the season by going 6.1 innings and allowing the only two runs. Following Stevenson was redshirt senior pitcher Jake Haberer, allowing no runs through 2.2 innings.

An ongoing problem recently for the Panthers has been their defensive play. Even though the Panthers won Friday’s game, the team had two errors and had another two errors Sunday.

The Panthers’ next game will be Tuesday against Butler at Coaches Stadium.

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