Eastern goes 1-2 against Belmont

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

Foster Anshutz was perfect going into the weekend series against the Belmont Bruins with a 5-0 record as a starter in Eastern’s rotation, but Belmont ruined that with a 5-1 win over Eastern Saturday.

Anshutz gave up four earned runs in his 6.2 innings on seven hits during the final game of the series, while also allowing three walks and striking out three batters.

He was not the only Eastern pitcher who could not stymie the Belmont batters, though, as the Bruins scored more than five runs in each game. 

Eastern (16-16, 8-7) took the first game of the series Friday, 9-6, but Belmont (15-16, 10-5) outscored the Panthers 14-8 in the final two games to close out the series with two wins.

So continues the trend for the Eastern baseball team, as the Panthers look for consistency from its high-scoring offense and its pitching staff that is prone to giving up big games to opponents’ hitting.

That has been a big issue plaguing Eastern this season.

The Panthers bring in 6.65 runs per game and give up 5.97 to opponents.

Even though Eastern has the upper hand in that respect, it cannot always make up for the games where the pitching staff gives up five or more runs, which it has done in 18 games.

All three of the games against Belmont factor in to that overall 18.

The Eastern offense was able to perform like it is capable of in the first two series games, unlike the third game where the Panthers only brought in one run to support Anshutz.

Eastern scored 16 runs in the first two games, and in the lone victory, the Panthers scored six runs in a three-inning stretch to pull away for the victory.

Keith Kerrigan started Eastern’s big day Friday with a double in the second inning, which scored Christian Pena to give Eastern a 1-0 lead.

Belmont tied the game up right away in the bottom of the second, but Eastern countered in the third inning with two runs as Hunter Morris and Ryan Knernschield were credited with those RBIs.

Both sides were quiet until the fifth inning, which is when Belmont scored two more runs to tie the game again at 3-3.

Eastern’s relief staff has had some trouble in the middle innings in the past, but Friday, starter Michael YaSenka went seven innings, only giving up those three earned runs on six hits, one walk and eight strikeouts.

YaSenka got the win Friday, improving to an even 3-3 on the year.

The Panthers’ offense also gave YaSenka backup, scoring the final six runs in the sixth through eighth innings.

Matt Waznis flied out in the sixth inning, scoring Knernschield to put Eastern up 4-3.

An inning later, Knernschield reached first base on a fielder’s choice, scoring Jimmy Govern.

Pena followed that up with a groundout, but Grant Emme was still able to score.

Rounding it out in the eighth inning was Govern, who hit a two-run home run followed by Knernschield who, despite not getting a hit again, reached on an error and scored Emme for Eastern’s ninth run.

Belmont gave Eastern a scare in what looked like a for-sure Eastern victory, as Chandler Adkins hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning to give Belmont its sixth run.

But Alex Stevenson pitched the final 1.1 innings and to close out Eastern’s lone win, earning his second save on the season.

After the road trip, Eastern now has a five-game home stand over the next week, starting Tuesday when the Panthers host Southern Illinois at 3 p.m.

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