OVC baseball teams on verge of conference season

Eastern+utility+player+Ryan+Ignoffo+%287%29+high+fives+his+teammates+after+the+Panthers%E2%80%99+3-2+win+over+McNeese+State+on+March+18.+The+Panthers+won+the+series+to+improve+to+13-4+on+the+season.

Brian Barrett

Eastern utility player Ryan Ignoffo (7) high fives his teammates after the Panthers’ 3-2 win over McNeese State on March 18. The Panthers won the series to improve to 13-4 on the season.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

Conference season is on the horizon for the baseball teams of the OVC, and many of the conference’s teams have found success in nonconference play this season. 

Six of the conference’s 10 teams have records over .500 so far, with five of those teams being seven or more games over .500.

Eastern has the best nonconference record in the OVC at 13-4. The Panthers have won 10 of their last 11 games, including a nine-game win streak. 

Southeast Missouri has the next-best record at 14-5 followed by Tennessee Tech at 13-5. 

Murray State and Belmont are both seven games above .500 with the Racers at 13-6 and Bruins at 14-7. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville is the last OVC team above .500 with a 10-8 record. 

The final three teams in the conference all have seven wins, with Tennessee State at 7-11, Morehead State at 7-12 and Austin Peay at 7-15. 

Statistically, Tennessee Tech is leading the conference with a team batting average of .319. 

Eastern’s average of .275 ranks sixth in the conference but is only 11 points behind second-ranked Southeast Missouri and its .286 team average. 

Eastern’s pitching has been a major part of its hot start. The Panthers’ team ERA of 4.02 ranks third in the OVC, just barely behind Belmont’s 3.97 team ERA and conference-leading Murray State at 3.96. 

Tennessee-Martin’s lineup has struggled. The Skyhawks rank last in the conference with their .240 batting average and 103 runs scored. 

Austin Peay’s pitching staff ranks last with a team ERA of 8.12. 

Individually, Tennessee Tech’s Ed Johnson leads the conference with a .460 average with 87 at bats. Eastern’s Ryan Ignoffo ranks third with a .416 average. 

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville’s Brett Johnson leads the OVC with nine home runs and 63 total bases. 

Eastern’s Trevor Nicholson leads the conference with his 0.39 ERA, allowing just one earned run in 23.1 innings pitched. He also ranks first with 38 strikeouts while only walking five batters. 

Tennessee-Martin pitcher Rhett Fetner leads the conference with a 4-1 record and ranks second in innings pitched.  

 

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