Eastern to host Saint Louis on Tuesday


Sean Hastings

Illinois State sophomore Jordan Libman scoots around Eastern catcher Ryan Knernschield to score a run in Eastern’s 17-13 win over the Redbirds April 18 at Coaches Stadium. The Panthers were swept by Eastern Kentucky over the weekend, but are back at home to host Saint Louis at Coaches Stadium.

Adam Shay, Baseball Reporter

After scoring only five runs and being swept by Eastern Kentucky, the Eastern baseball team will have a non-conference game against Saint Louis on Tuesday.

Offensively, Eastern backtracked after the team dropped 17 runs against Illinois State last Wednesday, as it was unable to find the same success this past weekend. With losing three games straight, the team remains ninth in the OVC with a 4-14 record in conference play.

Throughout the season, the Panthers have been streaky when it comes to timely hitting. The team will need to put every component offensively together, considering that the Billikens’ pitching staff has a low team ERA of 3.40.  

“We are looking to find a way to consistently score runs and especially capitalize with runners in scoring position,” said senior left fielder Matt Albert.

The Panthers’ roster includes a variety of ways to score, having seven players hitting over .275, giving them a deep roster. On top of the Panther leaderboard is redshirt junior designated hitter Josh Turnock, hitting .325 on the season and having an on-base-percentage of .409. 

Senior third baseman Dougie Parks has been the prominent power hitter for the Panthers this season, despite going 3-11 with no RBI’s last weekend. However, Parks is leading the team with 13 doubles, eight home runs, and a .544 slugging percentage. 

Despite having no practice on Monday, that will not stop some Panthers from putting in preparation time. It is uncommon for the team to have practices due to week games, but after being swept and a game two day after, the need to practice is there.

“Most guys either go throw or hit in the field house,” Albert said. “[I will] most likely, depending on how far I get on schoolwork, but I’ll focus on keeping my hands through the ball and keeping my front shoulder closed.”

On the contrary, the Panthers’ pitching remained consistent, allowing Eastern Kentucky to score 17 runs. With a team ERA of 6.09, ranking sixth in the OVC, the Panthers go up against the Billikens and their .272 team average. 

Two of the Billikens’ starting pitchers have been dominant throughout the season. Both junior pitchers, Miller Hogan and Drew Reveno, have two of the lowest ERA’s on the team at 2.16. 

Like the Panthers, the Billikens have been on a cold streak, losing their last five games after a seven-game win streak. Last weekend, the team was swept by Jacksonville as they only scored seven runs in three games. 

Tuesday’s game will take place at Coaches Stadium at 3 p.m.

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