Panthers sweep Sunday doubleheader, off to 3-0 start in conference play


By Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern softball players (from left) Megan Burton, Alexa Rehmeier and Hannah Cravens celebrate after winning game one of a double header against Morehead State on Sunday at Williams Field. Rehmeier threw a one-hit shutout in the game and Burton and Cravens each scored a run in the 4-0 victory.

Ryan Meyer, Softball Reporter

Eastern’s softball team is off to a 3-0 start in OVC play after completing a sweep in their opening series against Morehead State this weekend.

The Panthers’ pitchers held the Eagles to eight hits across the three games, with freshman Alexa Rehmeier striking out 10 and only allowing two baserunners in a complete game, 4-0 shutout in Sunday’s first game.

Head coach Tara Archibald said the team knew Rehmeier was capable of such a performance.

“So huge for our freshman to come out, her first conference start and to have a game like that, just so strong and competent and do what we knew she could,” Archibald said.

Both teams recorded their first hits in the third, and Eastern would break the scoreless tie on a sacrifice fly by Megan Burton that advanced Briana Gonzalez to third and scored her on an errant throw.

The second game of Sunday’s doubleheader ended early, when an 8-run first inning for the Panthers set the tone for a mercy-rule shortened 11-1 victory.

Archibald said that everything went right as a team in the start to conference play.

“I think what I’m most encouraged by is just the complete team effort,” Archibald said. “Our pitching was really good, our defense was really good, our offense was fantastic. All up and down. I think in that last game we got everybody in the game, which was incredible. So just complete team effort and all three assets of the game we did well.”

Sunday’s offense was led by Jaylen Pritchard, who recorded two doubles and a single across the two games. Marama Makea recorded two hits and two RBIs in the last game of the series. Hannah Cravens, Riley Dittmar, Maddie Swart, Amber Cieplinski and Makea all notched two RBIs in the 11-1 win.

The wins extended the Panthers’ winning streak to nine games and Archibald said this can be attributed to the team starting to mesh after a long non-conference season, which included a six-game losing streak.

“I felt like we’re really starting to learn who we are as a team, learning how we can compete together as a team and what our strengths are, and now we can just go to work and build on that,” Archibald said. “Excited for a week of practice this week, no mid-week (game) and a full week of practice to get ready for the Tennessee State series.”

The Panthers are one of five OVC teams with a 3-0 conference record, and their overall record improved to 16-12. They’ll be on the road against Tennessee State and SIUE and won’t have a home series until April 2 against Murray State.


Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]