Eastern baseball team has tough weekend at Arkansas

Vince Lovergine, Baseball Reporter

File Photo | The Daily Eastern News
Pitcher Tyler Jones starts his throwing motion in Eastern’s 5-2 win agaisnt Lindenwood University-Belleville Spring 2019 at Coaches Stadium.

Going up against one of the country’s best, seventh-ranked University of Arkansas, the Eastern baseball team ran into some problems to open the 2020 season.

The season opened Friday with junior Will Klein on the mound, and he was impressive going five and two thirds innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out seven, suffering his first loss on the season, 5-1.

Before the season opener, Klein was named the top draft prospect in the Ohio Valley Conference by D1 Baseball and was also named one of two OVC players considered to be mid-major draft sleepers this season.

Klein can sit anywhere between 93-96 mph on his fastball. He even hit 100 miles per hour pitching for the Northwoods League All-Star team for the Lakeshore Chinooks this past summer.

Eastern eventually dropped the remaining two games of the three-game series, and the Panthers begin the season 0-3, similar to last season when Eastern played Arkansas to begin the year.

Grant Emme led Eastern with two hits while Christian Pena and Matt Waznis had a hit apiece in the first game. The only run scored for the Panthers came in the seventh inning when Matt Mackey reached on a fielding error which caused Grant Emme to score.

Connor Noland was lights out for the Razorbacks in game one, tossing six and two thirds innings, allowing one unearned run, one walk and striking out 11.

Offensively, it was not much of anything for Eastern who had five runs cross the plate in the series, with three of them coming Sunday afternoon.

Trevor Nicholson ran into trouble in game two for the Panthers, lasting just three and two thirds innings, giving up seven earned runs, with three walks and three strikeouts, eventually dropping the game, 10-1.

Arkansas broke it open in the fourth inning, putting up six runs in the frame on three singles and a double, where Cole Austin drove in two on a double down the left field line. A game that reached 10-0 seemed out of reach, as Eastern did get one run in the ninth inning on a double play by Ben Snapp that scored Ryan Ignoffo.

Ignoffo and Mackey had two hits apiece and Jesse Wainscott was a nice surprise out of the bullpen, going four innings, giving up just one hit and walked three.

Foster Anshutz got the ball in game three, but he also had some struggles, lasting just one and two thirds innings, allowing five earned runs and striking out four. Blake Malatestinic came in relief of Anschutz, and he got through four and a third, with four earned runs and two strikeouts.

Mackey had two RBI’s in the series finale, and Keith Kerrigan also drove in a run.

Heston Kjerstad had himself a game in the rubber match for Arkansas, going three-of-five from the plate and driving in six runs.

The Razorbacks led 7-0 after two innings and swept the series with a 12-3 win.

Vince Lovergine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].