Baseball team comes home for 1st time


File Photo

Eastern senior Jimmy Govern hits a ball in a game last spring against Belmont at Coaches Field. Eastern swept Tennessee Tech this past weekend and plays Robert Morris at home on Tuesday.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz, Baseball Reporter

After weeks on the road, the Eastern baseball team finally gets a stretch of home play starting Tuesday with a game against Robert Morris-Illinois and then a Wednesday turnaround with Lindenwood-Belleville at Coaches Stadium.

The Panthers come into the home stand with an even 11-11 record overall and a 5-4 mark in the OVC, good for fifth in the conference.

It may not seem like much, but after such a long road stint and one of the best starts for Eastern in recent history, head coach Jason Anderson is raving.

“To be in this spot after 22 road games and having the top current RPI in the OVC is exciting,” Anderson said. “It’s a testament to every player that has helped build this program the last few years.”

After an 0-5 start to the 2019 campaign, the rebound has been successful in the eyes of Anderson for good reason, and much of the success has come from the hot Panther bats.

Through 22 games, the Panthers hold a team batting average of .290, nearly .030 points higher than their opponents have hit this season, and they are coming off a 41-run weekend in a three-game sweep of Tennessee Tech.

Anderson attributes the success to the team’s willingness to work together.

“This is the most unselfish group I’ve ever coached,” Anderson said. “We really put together team at-bats and kept the pressure on (Tennessee) Tech the entire weekend.”

One of the main catalysts for the hitting has been senior Jimmy Govern, who ballooned his average to .344 on the year after an 8-for-14 weekend against the Golden Eagles.

Govern also tacked on six RBIs in the series to add to his team-leading 23 on the year.

Robert Morris-Illinois is nothing to sneeze at though, as the Eagles come into the game with an 11-10 record, including a 4-2 run in their last six contests.

Sophomore Rickey Kemp comes into the matchup with the hot stats for the Eagles, boasting a .356 average with 28 total bases as well.

As for Lindenwood-Belleville, the Lynx come in with a record just a tick above .500 as well at 15-14 and have been an even 3-3 in their last six games.

The good news for Eastern is that Lindenwood-Belleville has secured just six games in 14 tries against non-conference opponents on the year.

Junior Beau Collier leads the Lynx hitting attack with 43 total bases and 13 RBIs on the year.

Eastern stays at home after the two games with a three-game conference series against Southeast Missouri starting Friday.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]