The Eastern baseball team won two of three in their conference series over the weekend against Eastern Kentucky.
The Panthers won both games in Friday’s doubleheader, winning 9-7 and 11-2, respectively.
Eastern Illinois dropped Saturday afternoon’s game 8-6.
Eastern Kentucky had a 7-5 lead in the seventh inning of Friday’s first game, but a home run by shortstop Trey Sweeney and RBI from third baseman Dalton Doyle, catcher Ryan Knernschield and center fielder Keith Kerrigan drove in three unanswered runs in the 9-7 win.
Alex Stevenson took the win in two innings pitched to close the game. Starting pitcher Cameron Doherty gave up three runs in 5.1 innings with five strikeouts.
Game two of the series saw the Panthers never looking back after jumping to a 10-0 lead in the first three innings, cruising to the 11-2 victory.
Ky Hampton got the win on the mound, only giving up two runs in 7.2 innings with four strikeouts.
Eastern Illinois scored most of their runs in the second game off smart baserunning and four RBIs from Knernschield, who had a single, a double and an RBI sacrifice fly.
Saturday’s loss came at the hands of an efficient Eastern Kentucky offense, who were leading 8-0 through five and a half innings. A late comeback off RBIs by Doyle and first baseman Christian Pena provided the Panthers with six runs, which proved to not be enough.
Pitcher Nick Laxner was lights-out after coming in for Foster Anshutz in the fifth inning, giving up no runs and only one hit in 3.1 innings.
The Panthers ended the series with a 7-8 conference record and a 16-14 overall record.
Head coach Jason Anderson addressed Hampton’s performance in game two and the close score of game one.
“The first game was a nail biter. We got ahead and let them kind of claw their way back, but we hung in and got it in the end,” Anderson said. “In the second game we jumped out ahead and Ky Hampton just threw a fantastic game, just tremendous, exactly what we needed.”
Anderson also addressed the team’s pitching and explained what they need to work on as the schedule begins to see more and more OVC opponents.
“We gotta throw strikes, first of all, and we’re just trying to be smarter situationally pitching,” Anderson said. “If we get a lead, we want to keep the lead, just giving up too many leads throughout the year, and hopefully we’re getting better and we’re learning from our mistakes, but it’s really about throwing strikes and having confidence out there.”
The Panthers will host the Maryville Saints on Tuesday. The Saints have a 10-13 overall record.
Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]