Panthers win 8-1 in home opener Tuesday

Eastern+pitcher+Kyle+Lang+winds+up+for+a+pitch+against+Bellarmine+Tuesday+at+Coaches+Field.+Lang+pitched+a+season-high+7+innings%2C+allowing+6+hits+and+1+run+in+a+8-1+Eastern+win.

Ryan Meyer | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern pitcher Kyle Lang winds up for a pitch against Bellarmine Tuesday at Coaches Field. Lang pitched a season-high 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and 1 run in a 8-1 Eastern win.

Ryan Meyer, Baseball Reporter

The Eastern baseball team won their home opener Tuesday against Bellarmine by a score of 8-1.

The Panthers are off to a solid 8-5 start going into their first conference game on Friday against Murray State.

Eastern head coach Jason Anderson said he was happy with the team’s performance Tuesday.

“We played about as perfect of a game as you can play,” Anderson said. “No errors, I think we had maybe two walks, put together good at-bats, got our RBIs, so overall just very, very pleased with how we’re playing right now.”

The Panthers started the game with a 2-run first inning with the runs coming on RBI singles from rightfielder Logan Eickhoff and shortstop Trey Sweeney.

After giving up a run in the second inning, Panthers starting pitcher Kyle Lang went scoreless for the next five innings until he handed the ball off to Jalen Cardinal. Lang recorded four strikeouts and six hits in seven innings.

After scoring a run in both the second and third innings, Eastern put two more runs on the board in the fifth with more singles from Eickhoff and Sweeney, and a 2-RBI double from first basemen Christian Pena.

Bellarmine threatened in the top of the sixth with runners on first and second with one out, but the inning was ended on a double play turned by Sweeney and second baseman Lucas DiLuca.

The Panthers scored two more runs in the seventh inning off a double from Sweeney and a single by Pena.

Foster Anshutz closed the game with three strikeouts, one of which was a dropped third, and the runner reached first safely. The game ended on a flyout to Sweeney.

These two teams also played earlier this season, with Eastern splitting a doubleheader against Bellarmine in the beginning of March.

Going into conference play, Eastern has the best overall record in the OVC, and Anderson said the lineup has not yet reached its full potential.

“We’re beat up a little bit,” he said. “We’re not even at full strength, but what we do is we play really good defense and we string together good at-bats, and we throw strikes, and when you do that you’ve got a chance to win ballgames, and that’s kind of got us to where we’re at right now.”

Sweeney went 4-4 with two RBI, bringing his season batting average to .429 and his RBI total to 20.

“He’s just a dude. That’s about the only way to put it, he’s really good,” Anderson said. “Once we got him going, he’s just a really good player.”

Sweeney leads the OVC in batting average, slugging percentage and RBI among other categories.

The Panthers and Racers will open up conference play Friday at 3 p.m. The two teams will also play a double header Saturday. Murray State is 5-7 this season and has lost its last four games.

 

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]