Panthers split doubleheader, lose series

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

After a loss Thursday, the Eastern baseball team needed to sweep a Friday doubleheader to win a three-game series against Tennessee-Martin.

The Panthers won the first game 7-0 but lost the second 5-2, dropping the series to the Skyhawks and falling to 9-12 in conference play this season.

The Skyhawks improved to 7-8 against the OVC.

The first game was dominated by a pair of Eastern players.

Junior pitcher Ky Hampton was in control from the first pitch, retiring the first six batters of the game en route to a complete game, 3-hit shutout.

It was the first 9-inning shutout for an Eastern pitcher since 2014.

He allowed just three singles in the game, and thanks to two double plays and a caught stealing, faced the minimum 27 batters.

He also had 8 strikeouts in the game, the second-most by any Eastern pitcher this season behind Cameron Doherty’s 9 strikeouts against Belmont on April 3.

While Hampton dominated on the mound, rightfielder Ryan Ignoffo did the same at the plate.

Ignoffo went 4-for-5 with 5 RBI out of the cleanup spot, including a 2-run home run in the seventh.

He is now slashing .391/.500/.739 in 23 at bats this season. He has also pitched 13.1 innings this season with a 4.05 ERA and 21 strikeouts. He has held opponents scoreless in six of his eight outings this season.

Leftfielder Ben Snapp was 3-for-4 with an RBI while shortstop Trey Sweeney was 3-for-4 with a walk and 3 runs scored.

The Eastern offense had a hard time getting any going in game two, being held scoreless until the fifth inning.

Tennessee-Martin jumped ahead two innings earlier off Eastern starter Foster Anshutz, scoring 3 unearned runs in the third. A 2-out error from Eastern second baseman Lucas DiLuca allowed a run to score and kept the inning alive for a 2-run single by Skyhawks’ shortstop Casey Harford.

Anshutz surrendered another run in the fourth, this time it was earned.

Tennessee-Martin first baseman Ethan Whitley hit a solo home run over the scoreboard in left field to put the Skyhawks up 4-0.

The Skyhawks added another unearned run off Eastern reliever Alex Stevenson in the fifth, scoring on an error from third baseman Dalton Doyle.

The Eastern lineup broke through in the scoring column in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Sweeney.

Sweeney was 1-for-2 in the game with 2 walks and is now slashing .415/.539/.756 this season. He leads the OVC in on-base percentage and slugging percentage and ranks second in batting average behind injured teammate Logan Eickhoff, who is hitting .455.

The Panthers added another run in the eighth on an RBI single from pinch hitter Gunner Smith, but the scoring would end there.

Eastern will be back in action on the road against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on April 30 and May 1 for a three-game series.

 

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