Panthers split weekend, Schuette wins 400th

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Eastern’s weekend-opening win against Murray State not only snapped its four-game losing streak but also gave coach Kim Schuette her 400th career win.

“I feel blessed to have coached so many good players and been around many great people,” Schuette said.

But after sweeping Murray State Saturday, Sunday’s opening game against Austin Peay could not have been more demoralizing.

The Panthers put together two complete games Saturday, including an eighth-inning win, but Sunday just was not the Panthers’ day.

Austin Peay’s pitcher Morgan Rackel no-hit the Panthers, and Bailey Shorter hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh to win game one 1-0.

“We came out with effort, but Rackel shut us down,” Schuette said. “Her rise ball is tough, so with her 11 Ks and many other pop ups, their defense didn’t have to do too much.”

Shorter’s walk-off home run and Rackel’s no hitter makes the stellar pitching performance from senior Jessica Wireman go for not. She has lost her last six decisions and that game could have got her back on track.

Her only mistake in Sunday’s game was the pitch to Shorter with two outs in the seventh, as it was only the second hit she had allowed in the game.

“Don’t take anything away from Wireman, though,” Schuette said. “She too threw a great game only giving up two hits. It was a great pitcher’s duel and bummer we were on the losing end.”

Saturday worked out much better for the Panthers, but it was almost a continuation of what has been happening as Murray State scored late to take a lead. But this time Eastern got the last laugh, scoring late and winning in the eighth inning off junior Mady Poulter’s single that scored senior Kiley Pelker.

Eastern won both games 5-4 Saturday and it snapped the Panthers’ four-game losing streak.

“We won two tough ones on Saturday and it’s nice to be on that side this time,” Schuette said. “And we’re coming home for one more weekend OVC battle of four games.”

Sophomore Mia Davis helped send the game into extra innings with her game-tying two-run double in the top of the seventh.

And sophomore Haley Mitchell continued to produce runs at will as she drove in three runs in the two games against the Racers and added two more against Austin Peay.

The Panthers return home next weekend to wrap up their regular season with the OVC Tournament likely to follow.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]