Softball team set for tough Redhawks team

Tom O'Connor, Softball Reporter

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The Eastern softball team will conclude its road trip, and complete its final away games this season, at Southeast Missouri on Friday.

Eastern’s Jade Montgomery throws a pitch in the Panthers’ 6-4 loss to Indiana State April 3 at Williams Field. Eastern play Southeast Missouri on the road this weekend.

JJ Bullock
Eastern’s Jade Montgomery throws a pitch in the Panthers’ 6-4 loss to Indiana State April 3 at Williams Field. Eastern play Southeast Missouri on the road this weekend.

A 3-0 victory over Butler solidified Eastern’s fifth road win, making it appear all the more likely that the Panthers will finish out the season with a markedly better road record (5-11) than at Williams Field (1-9).

Megan Burton hit a single in the top of the first inning against Buter, instilling aggression on the base paths, stealing second and third before scoring on a wild pitch.

Alyssa Graves struggled with control, as two of the Panthers’ runs came in on wild pitches, with junior Mia Davis scoring on an erratic pitch after doubling to right centerfield.

The Panthers exhibited prowess in the top and bottom of each inning, the batting average between Burton and Davis alone was .666 at Butler on Wednesday night.

Unlike the majority of its games, the Butler matchup provided Eastern with a bit of a reprieve for its bullpen, guaranteeing that no one would take the mound for two consecutive games.

The bullpen may well in fact need all the rest it can gain in anticipation for the Redhawks, who, in contrast with every other team in the Ohio Valley Conference, have three top 20 hitters this season.

Southeast Missouri pitcher Haley Thogmartin has maintained the lowest batting average among players who threw to at least 300 batters, taking an ERA of 1.73 into the weekend.

She redeemed a 9-3 loss to Southern Illinois, a game in which she got pulled after only three innings of work, yielding four runs, hits and errors apiece.

Thogmartin struck out five batters in four innings pitched and, by the end of the game, secured her 100th strikeout on the season.

The Redhawks have won 12 games by seven or more runs, two of which were victories of 14 or more.

As Eastern turns to play a team with the highest batting average and lowest ERA, they may take some comfort in the fact that Southeast Missouri claimed just one victory over the Panthers in the last three seasons, though not too much confidence.

These teams have seemingly traded places this season from where they were one year ago, particularly when it came to the

Panthers’ hitting production, as Eastern boasted the best batting average in the OVC.

Their pitching was proficient enough to crack the top five, though the Panthers have plunged in the absence of Jessica Wireman and Michelle Rodgers, both of whom posted winning records.

Tom O’Connor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]