Panthers in 8th after 2 conference series

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The first two series in conference play are in the books for the Eastern baseball team.

The Panthers gone 1-2 in both series, first against Murray State at home and then against Tennessee Tech on the road, and are in eighth place in the OVC in the early stages of the season.

Also with 2-4 records in conference play this season are Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Austin Peay.

Tennessee Tech, Southeast Missouri and Murray State are atop the standings with conference records of 4-2.

To this point in the season, no OVC team has swept a conference opponent in a three-game series, causing the early-season standings to be relatively crowded.

The only OVC team with just one win is Jacksonville State, which has only played three conference games this season. Morehead State (2-1) also has played just three conference games while the rest of the conference has played six.

Since it is still early in the season, the statistics are not really reflected in the standings.

For example, Southeast Missouri is tied for the conference lead but ranks sixth in the conference in runs scored and has allowed the fifth most runs.

But there are some areas where the stats are reflected in the standings.

Eastern has surrendered the most runs in the OVC this season (147) and their team ERA of 7.08 is the highest in the conference and is more than 2.5 runs higher than the OVC average.

This is partially a result of the Panthers playing the top-two teams in the OVC in terms of slugging percentage.

Murray State is slugging .459 as a team and Tennessee Tech is slugging .454.

Murray State also leads the conference with 28 home runs while Tennessee Tech is tied for third with 17.

Eastern is also at or near the top of the conference in most offensive categories, ranking first in runs scored (147), second in team batting average (.283) and third in team slugging percentage (.419).

The Panthers also have some of the top individual hitters in the OVC this season.

Redshirt-sophomore Logan Eickhoff is second in the OVC in batting average hitting .434. The leader in that category, Eastern Kentucky’s Santiago Peralta, is hitting .500, but has 51 fewer at bats that Eickhoff.

Eickhoff also ranks fourth in the OVC in steals with eight in 11 attempts.

Redshirt-sophomore shortstop Trey Sweeney ranks sixth in the OVC in batting average (.380), second in slugging percentage (.718) and third in home runs (5). Eickhoff and Sweeney ranks first and second in the conference in hits.

Although the pitching staff as a whole has struggled a bit so far, redshirt-sophomore Cameron Doherty has stood out.

He ranks eighth in the OVC with a 2.96 ERA, ranks ninth with 24 strikeouts and leads the conference with 3 saves.

Redshirt junior Trevor Nicholson has the fifth most strikeouts in the conference this season with 28.


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