Panthers power their way to 4-0 start

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

Outscoring you opponents 35-1 over a four-game stretch is usually a good sign.

It certainly was for the Eastern softball team in their first four games of the season as they got off to a 4-0 start after not playing games for nearly a year.

The Panthers opened the season Sunday with two games against Jackson State in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Eastern won the first game 7-0 behind the pitching of redshirt-senior Jade Montgomery, who went 5.2 shutout innings while allowing just 3 hits and striking out 4 batters.

The Eastern offense got most of their runs late, scoring 5 runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

Redshirt-sophomore Hannah Cravens hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, the first of the season for Eastern.

Redshirt-seniors Haley Mitchell and Mia Davis hit back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh to provide the Panthers with insurance late in the game.

Eastern jumped on Jackson State early in the second game Sunday, scoring 5 runs in the second inning. Following a bases-loaded walk to Panther pitcher Olivia Price, redshirt-junior Megan Burton hit a grand slam.

They added runs in the fourth on a home run from redshirt Abi Stahlhut and in the fifth when Cravens hit her second home run of the day. They scored twice in the sixth inning to win 9-1.

Burton added an RBI double in the sixth and then scored on a single from Mitchell.

Price surrendered 1 run on 1 hit in 2.1 innings before redshirt-sophomore Sydney Cammon finished off the game with 3.2 innings, allowing just 1 hit and picking up the win.

The Panthers were back in action Monday, this time with a pair of games against Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Montgomery was on the mound once again for the first game, and she picked up where she left off against Jackson State.

She pitched all 5 innings in the game, surrendering just 1 hit and recording 4 strikeouts.

The offense gave Montgomery an early lead, scoring 4 runs in the first innings and 2 in the second.

Cravens hit another homerun, a 3-run blast in the first inning, and also hit a double later in the game.

Burton went 2-for-3 in the game, scoring 2 runs and driving in 2 runs, and redshirt freshman outfielder Abby Taylor went 3-for-3 and scored twice.

Eastern won the game 9-0.

In game two, the Eastern offense scored 4 runs in the first and third innings en route to a 10-0 win.

Their 4 runs in the third inning came via three home runs, including another for Cravens, giving her 4 home runs in four games to begin the season.

Redshirt-freshman Amber Cieplinski also went deep, and freshman Aniya Holt hit the first home run of her college career.

Redshirt-junior Valerie Thompson pitched for the first time this season, allowing 1 hit and 2 walks in 4 shutout innings.

Price pitched again for the final inning, surrendering 2 hits but not giving up a run.

The Panthers’ next game is Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. against Louisiana.


Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]