Hot-hitting Panthers in 2nd place

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The Eastern softball team is no longer leading the OVC standings, but with a conference record of 7-2 are just one game back of Southeast Missouri.

The Panthers have won three-straight series to begin conference play, most recently winning a three-game set against Austin Peay this past weekend.

Eastern is still at or near the top of the conference in many offensive categories.

They are leading the OVC with 30 home runs, 10 more than second-ranked Eastern Kentucky, and a .541 slugging percentage, which is 27 points higher than second-ranked Tennessee-Martin.

The Panthers also rank second in the conference in runs scored (119), RBI (113), batting average (.312) and on-base percentage (.384).

Individual Panther players are also close to the top of OVC leaderboards.

Redshirt-sophomore outfielder Katie Nicholson ranks second in the conference with a .436 batting average.

Redshirt-sophomore outfielder Morgan Lewis ranks seventh in that category with a batting average of .414. Lewis also ranks second in the conference with 29 hits third in stolen bases with 12.

Redshirt-senior Haley Mitchell and redshirt-junior Megan Burton are tied for second in the conference with 8 home runs apiece, trailing only Tennessee-Martin’s Kaitlyn Kelley with 10 home runs.

Redshirt-sophomore Hannah Cravens is tied for fourth with 6 home runs.

Eastern’s pitching staff is also one of the OVC’s best so far this season.

The Panthers’ team ERA of 3.06 ranks third in the OVC and their 24 walks issued are the fewest in the conference.

They have also given up just 6 home runs, the second-fewest in the OVC.

Freshman Olivia Price’s ERA of 1.97 ranks fourth in the conference. Price has done most of her work out of the bullpen this season.

Redshirt-senior Jade Montgomery has started 13 games this season, tied for the most in the conference. She has pitched 66.2 innings, the second-most in the OVC, and her 2.84 ERA ranks 11th in the conference.

Eastern’s run differential of +52 ranks second in the conference.

It is still early on, though, and the numbers are not reflected in the standings in some cases.

For example, conference-leading Southeast Missouri ranks sixth with a run differential of +2.

Tennessee-Martin leads the conference comfortably in run differential at +71, but is tied for fourth in the standings.

Things will likely even out more as the season progresses.

 

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