17-run inning for the Eastern baseball team seals its home opener win


Rob Le Cates

Eastern’s baseball team cheers and welcomes home Dylan Drumke, a sophomore outfielder, after hitting a homerun for 2 points at Coaches Stadium Wednesday afternoon. Drumke had two hits and runs. The Panthers won 24-7.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

The Eastern baseball team scored 17 runs in the bottom of the first inning of its 24-7 home opener win Wednesday against Division III Illinois Wesleyan.

After a three up three down inning for starting right-hander Mitch Alba, the Panthers took full advantage of their first at-bat of the game.

Senior outfielder Lincoln Riley started off hot as he had a leadoff triple to right field. He was able to score on the next at-bat after Chris Worcester had a SAC fly.

Senior utility player Ryan Ignoffo would follow that up with a standup double to centerfield as the Panthers continued to build momentum.

Head coach Jason Anderson said that getting the home opener win after all of the cancelations last week was good because they are trying to play as much baseball as they can.

“This is our fifth game in five days, which is not a normal thing for a college baseball team,” Anderson said. “And so it’s nice to be home, but you know, trying to play as much as we can and came out and had a decent day on the field.”

The first homerun for the Panthers was at the bat of graduate student outfielder Dominic DiLello, giving the Panthers the 7-0 advantage. DiLello led the Panthers with 5 RBIS, going 2-for-4 for the day.

After Riley was hit by a pitch and sophomore infielder Chirs Worcester was walked, Ignoffo stepped up to the plate and hit a three-run home run, pushing the lead to 10-0.

Ignoffo said that there was a lot of intent behind his performance.

“Last couple of games I haven’t had the best results even though I’m just sticking with the process and hitting balls hard,” Ignoffo said. “You know, that’s just the game of baseball, you can hit balls hard and have a lot of outs but today, couple balls hit hard, one was off the fence, and one was over.”

Senior catcher Jared Evans followed it up a little bit later with a two-run home run. Evans is fifth in the OVC in hitting and he led the Panthers with 3 hits, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs.

Evans said that he has not had a lot of at-bats compared to others and he can attribute his performance to that.

“I’ve been just having a blast, you know, trying to play my game and do what I can to help the team,” Evans said.

Junior outfielder Sean Lynch Jr. was third on the team in hits, going 1-for-3 with three RBIs.

Going through 21 plate appearances in the bottom of the first inning allowed a lot of Panthers to step up to the plate like that I had not before. Anderson said that it was good to see guys hit well because some have had some rough luck at the plate.

“We just got more clutch hits,” Anderson said. “I mean, that’s what we’ve been struggling with all year. We get a lot of hits, and we get a lot of base runners, but we’re not getting them across the plate and you know, obviously today we got a lot across the plate.”

At the bottom of the third inning, redshirt sophomore Dylan Drumke recorded his first hit of the season with a two-run home run, giving the Panthers the 24-3 lead.

The game was over after seven innings as left-handed closer Jack Potteiger went three up and three down. At the mound, Mitch Alba led the way with four innings pitched, facing 15 batters, and allowing three earned runs.

The Titans scored three runs in the second inning and four more in the fourth inning. All in all, the Titans scored seven runs on three hits while the Panthers scored their 24 runs on 18 hits.

The Panthers will be back at home this weekend for a doubleheader against Butler with the first game starting at 12:00 p.m. Anderson said that this is the last weekend for the Panthers to test out their pitching before more conference games start.

“Just to see if we can correct what we had mistakes on last week.” Anderson said. “Mostly the pitching on the weekend. We got to pitch better than we did against Tennessee Martin.”


Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]