Panthers snap losing streak on Senior Day


Rob Le Cates

In the top of the eighth, left, Jason DeCicco, a senior left-handed pitcher, is relieved after Jackson Nichols, a sophomore right-handed pitcher, during the Panther’s Senior Day game against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks Tuesday afternoon. After stepping off the mound, DeCicco embraces most of the team exchanging sentiments with them.

Autumn Schulz and Rob Le Cates

The Eastern baseball team snapped a three-game losing streak on Senior Day Tuesday afternoon after beating Western Illinois 6-1. 

The Panthers are now 31-18 overall with a 10-11 record in the OVC. The Panthers said goodbye to six seniors: Nathan Aide, Trevor Nicholson, Cameron Doherty, Kyle Lang, Jason DeCicco, and Dalton Doyle.  

Senior Day was hosted at Coaches Stadium, which had been under repair for the majority of the 2022 season. Redshirt-senior outfielder Lucas DiLuca said that being on the road so often was not ideal. 

“We’re on the road like so much. It was really tough. A lot of bus rides, man, so it got really tiring, but we overcame that,” DiLuca said. “So, it’s nice to be home.” 

DiLuca said that there were mixed emotions as the rest of the team watched the seniors take the field for one of the last times at home.  

“Oh, it’s really good for the seniors. I mean it’s kind of sad, to you know, think about it,” DiLuca said. “The last little bit of baseball right here. So, I mean just a fun little day though.” 

At the plate, the Panthers were led by senior outfielder Nathan Aide. Aide went 1-for-3 with two RBIs, all while collecting his 10th home run of the season. Aide said that he was pleased with his performance overall.  

“I feel pretty good, we won the game,” Aide said. “You know, I’ve had some pretty good at bats today. I got a home run, so I’m pretty happy overall.” 

Aide said one of the reasons why the Panthers have been so successful this season with over 30 wins is because of the culture that is built on and off the field.  

“I think we have a great culture here. You know, everyone kind of like rides for each other and I think we got a lot of talented players, a lot of talented hitters, a lot of talented pitchers,” Aide said. “I just think we are one of the most talented teams in the Ohio Valley Conference.” 

Ja’Lil Akbar, a sophomore infielder, celebrates after getting Western Illinois freshman Mat Santarelli out after attempting to steal second base in the top of the third inning during the Panther’s Senior Day game against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks Tuesday afternoon. During the first inning. With the win 6-1 against the Leathernecks, the Panthers now have a 31-18 win ratio. (Rob Le Cates)

The Panthers only have three games left in the regular season before they are officially seeded for the Ohio Valley Conference next week. Aide said that the win today was a step in the right direction for the team.  

“Pretty positive, I mean we’ve had a little bit of a rough stretch the last couple of weeks or whatever,” Aide said. “I mean, that happens but I think today was a good, you know, first step to getting back on track. We plan to do that this Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and then in tournaments next week.” 

On the mound, freshman right-hander Tyler Conklin pitched six innings while allowing only one run and two hits. Head coach Jason Anderson said that he was happy with his team’s performance.  

“Very happy, freshman on the mound, first time going that deep at this level with a freshman,” Anderson said. “He did a nice job today, went deep into the game, and we scored some runs early, took some pressure off and overall, a good day.” 

The Panthers will open up a three-game homestand against Southeast Missouri starting on Thursday at Anderson said that the team needs to stop stranding runners in order to improve their game between now and then.  

“We need to score more runs when they’re in scoring position. We lost a lot of RBIs out there and it’s happening a lot more frequently,” Anderson said. “So, we got to get through that.”  

Autumn Schulz is a junior sports media relations major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].