Eastern baseball team drops home opener 14-10


JJ Bullock

Eastern’s Christian Pena loads at the plate befor sending a ball to the warning track in Eastern’s 14-10 loss to Robert Morris-Illinois Tuesday at Coaches Field. Eastern fell to 11-12 with the loss.

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

Robert Morris-Illinois came to Coaches Stadium and spoiled the Eastern baseball team’s home opener with a 14-10 victory over the Panthers.

Despite only losing by four runs, Eastern (11-12) was beat down by the stellar hitting performance Robert Morris (12-10).

Robert Morris did not score a run in four of the innings Tuesday, but a nine-run outburst over the span of the fifth and sixth innings is what killed Eastern and put the lead out of reach for the Panthers’ late comeback attempt.

Jack Wolfe was the subject of Robert Morris’ beat down, giving up the nine runs over that span, six of which were earned.

“We just weren’t competing on the mound,” said Eastern head coach Jason Anderson. “They got the home run the inning before, and it was like that was it. But to follow that three-run home run up with a five-run inning, with more home runs, really put us in a hole we couldn’t come back from.”

Wolfe started the fifth inning on a good note, striking out Robert Morris’ Ty Castillo.

Then everything fell apart.

Adam Knerr came up next for the Eagles and hit a line-drive single to left field to start the crack in the foundation holding back the flood waters.

David Dugger came up to bat next, but before he even hit the ball, Wolfe threw a wild pitch and Knerr advanced to second base.

Dugger then hit a ground ball that went right past Christian Pena at third base, an error for Pena, which brought Knerr around to score. The score was 4-3 then in the Eagles’ favor.

Rickey Kemp singled to right field next, advancing Dugger to third. Then Chris Broccolino struck out next for Robert Morris, but Tyler Suchy hit a three-run home run with two outs to make the Eagles’ lead 7-3.

On the day, the Eagles drove four home runs over the outfield fence of Coaches Field, to all parts of the outfield.

The second of the four home runs was hit by Robert Morris’ Connor McLain, a solo shot that led off the sixth inning.

Later in the inning, Dugger hit a two-run home run of his own to right center field, which put Robert Morris’ lead to 11-3 then. The Eagles scored one run, which came off a throwing error by catcher Ryan Knernschield, in-between the home runs.

Broccolino avenged himself after striking out the previous inning, hitting a solo home run to left center for the Eagles’ 12th run.

Defensively, Eastern had three errors, which led to five runs for Robert Morris, but the Eagles ended the game with more errors (five) than Eastern. Out of the Panthers’ 10 runs, four of them were unearned.

Despite the outburst from the Eagles in the middle innings, Eastern still managed to get 10 runs and stage an incomplete comeback in the eighth and ninth innings.

Eastern scored two runs in the eighth and three in the ninth.

Grant Emme started the ninth inning by reaching first base on an error, and Jimmy Govern followed with a single past the third baseman that advanced Emme to third.

Hunter Morris then reached on another error, scoring Emme.

Pena followed that with a single through the left side of the infield, scoring Govern and putting Morris on third base.

After a pitching change, where the Eagles replaced Mike Casterline with Alex Bacevicius, Trey Sweeney reached on a fielder’s choice (Pena was out at second), and Morris scored for Eastern’s final run.

Eastern had a lot of chances to score, but left 15 runners on base, compared to Robert Morris’ four.

“This game’s all, I’ll say it a million times, pitching, defense and clutch hitting: We didn’t pitch, we didn’t play good defense and we didn’t have any clutch hitting,” Anderson said. “Nobody really drove the baseball at all today, and they actually drove the ball.”

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