Eastern baseball team picks up 2-0 road win over Butler


File Photo

Jimmy Govern swings at a pitch during Eastern’s 9-8 extra-inning win over Morehead State in April 2018 at Coaches Stadium. Govern brought in his team-leading 17th RBI against Butler Tuesday.

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

Eastern’s game may have been moved to Butler’s field Monday, just before Tuesday’s matchup, but the baseball team came away with a 2-0 win.

The win signifies important marks for both the Panthers’ offense and defense as they are working toward their own respective goals this season.

Eastern’s offense focused its offseason on getting better with “small ball” at the plate, hitting to get on base rather than just swinging for home runs; Eastern’s pitching staff has yet to get settled in but got its first shutout of the season against Butler Tuesday.

The Panthers only recorded five hits, well below their season average of 10 hits per game going into Tuesday’s matchup. Even so, Eastern found a way to score its necessary runs from sacrifice flies.

“Butler gave us three opportunities to score some big runs early in the game with some leadoff walks,” said Eastern head coach Jason Anderson. “We didn’t really capitalize on them but managed to get a couple sacrifice flies that ended up being enough to get the win.”

Jimmy Govern knocked in Eastern’s first run in the third inning, and Christian Pena brought in Eastern’s insurance run just an inning later.

Trey Sweeney reached first base in the top of the third inning on a fielder’s choice, as Dane Toppel was forced out at second base on the play. Tyler Tesmond batted next and singled through the left side of the infield, putting Sweeney at second.

Sweeney then advanced to third base and Tesmond to second on a wild pitch, setting up Govern’s fly-out to right field to bring in Sweeney.

Govern finished hitless on the day (0-for-3), but he brought in the most important run for Eastern, bringing in his team-leading 17th RBI in the process.

Another mistake on Butler’s part set up Eastern’s score in the top of the fourth inning.

Hunter Morris started the inning with a walk, and Ryan Knernschield singled to third base. Morris advanced to third on a throwing error by the third baseman.

Pena then came up and flied out to right field like Govern and scored Morris. The RBI was Pena’s 12th of the season, putting him alone in second place on the team in the category, and he finished 1-for-2 at the plate.

While Govern and Pena did their part at the plate, Eastern’s pitching held up its end of the game by keeping the team ahead defensively.

An issue Anderson pointed out about the team in the early season is that the pitching staff could not keep the opponents from scoring after Eastern scored, which let opponents get back into games.

Tuesday, though, Foster Anshutz threw a scoreless six and two-thirds innings, and Josh Cooper came in relief for the rest of the way and got his first save on the season. Anshutz moved to 3-0 with the win.

“Foster and Josh came out and threw strikes and pitched with good tempo,” Anderson said. “We really needed some pitchers to step up, and they did that for us. Our defense played solid throughout the game as well. This was a nice bounce-back win for us.”

Anshutz did not have many blemishes on his start Tuesday, only giving up two hits and striking out two Bulldogs. He gave up Eastern’s three walks Tuesday.

Cooper also only gave up two hits and struck out two batters in relief.

Eastern does not have any time to rest, though, as it faces Evansville on the road Wednesday.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]