The Eastern baseball team beat Maryville University 10-3 on Tuesday afternoon.
Ryan Ignoffo got the win in a relief opportunity after coming in for Jalen Cardinal in the fifth inning and striking out two Saints batters looking. Kyle Lang started the game on the mound and went 4.1 innings, giving up five hits and three runs with three walks.
Hitting was sparse for the Panthers through four innings but a 4-run fifth inning that was sparked by an RBI single from second baseman Lucas DiLuca and multiple wild pitches that brought in runs.
Shortstop Trey Sweeney hit a solo home run to lead off in the bottom of the seventh inning, and one inning later first baseman Christian Pena made it a 10-3 game with a grand slam.
Head coach Jason Anderson said that he was looking to get more players some time on the field while others were out with injuries.
“This week, we’re just trying to get back on track,” Anderson said. “We are dealing with a lot of injuries, and so there’s guys getting an opportunity to play that maybe hadn’t the rest of the year, and you’re trying to get some guys in that hasn’t been out there a little bit. Got a chance to do that, hopefully we sparked a little bit of a hot streak with some hitters that have been struggling, but each week is a little bit different.”
The pitching performances of Eastern’s middle relievers are what Anderson said shifted the tide in the Panthers’ favor, beginning in the top of the fifth when Cardinal came in to pitch for Lang, and then when Ignoffo came in for Cardinal.
“But really for me the biggest part of the game was when Jalen Cardinal and Ryan Ignoffo came in when we were down by two and there was a runner at third to get us out of that jam, I think that gave us a chance to get back into it and get on top, and so to me that was the biggest part of the game right there,” Anderson said.
The win was the Panthers’ 17th on the season and made their home record 7-5. Their .548 overall winning percentage is the second best in the OVC, and they are in a three-way tie with Belmont and Austin Peay for sixth in the conference with a conference record of 7-8.
Morehead State has the best in-conference record at 6-3, with Southeast Missouri following at 9-6.
The Panthers have an upcoming four-game series at Morehead State that begins with a doubleheader on Friday.
Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]