Softball loses first OVC game of its season


Han Byer

The Eastern softball team sings the EIU Fight Song to the crowd after sweeping SIUE in their home-opener double-header against SIUE on Sunday afternoon on Williams Field.

Zaria Flippin, Softball Reporter

The Eastern Illinois softball team lost its first OVC game of the 2023 season in game two of a doubleheader against Southern Indiana at Williams Field Friday evening.

The Panthers won their first game against the University of Southern Indiana’s Screaming Eagles 0-2 Friday afternoon at Williams Field.

This is the first year the Screaming Eagles are playing at the Division I level.

Sophomore Panther Jaylen Prichard doubled to left center which lead senior Maddie Swart to help the Panthers score first in the bottom of the third inning.

Junior Panther Lindy Milkowski scored on a home run in the bottom of the sixth to give the Panthers the win.

At the top of the seventh inning, redshirt sophomore Aniya Holt and Lindy Milkowski made a double play to help secure the win for the Panthers.

“We always get pretty fired up when we have double plays, so I feel like that play did add to the momentum,” senior Panther catcher Amber Cieplinski said.

Junior Panther Olivia Price pitched for the entirety of the game, leaving the Screaming Eagles to two hits throughout the seven innings.

“I feel like Olivia did a really good job of keeping them at bay at the plate too,” Milkowski said. “Liv’s a really good pitcher when it comes to just a ground ball pitcher and giving it to the defense so we can make a play, and I felt she did her job perfectly.”

The Panthers lost their second game against the Screaming Eagles 8-5.

Screaming Eagles’ Kennedy Nalley, Caroline Stapleton, and Allie Goodin scored in the top of the third inning.

Senior Panther Rachel Kaufman scored a home run with Prichard and Milkowski on bases to tie the game at the end of the third inning.

Sophomore Screaming Eagle Hailey Gotshall doubled to left center, leaving time for senior Emma Tucher and freshman Caroline Stapleton to score an additional two points for the Screaming Eagles in the top of the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Panthers’ Cieplinski doubled to the left center, leaving time for freshman Kendall Grover to score.

Five plays later, Prichard singled to left field as junior Aryn Henke advanced to second, graduate Tieghan Morio advanced to third, and Holt advanced to home plate to tie the game at five.

Screaming Eagles’ junior Lexi Fair singled to right field which gave Stapleton and junior Mackenzie Bedrick time to run to home plate to give them a 7-5 lead over the Panthers.

One play later, Fair scored to give the Screaming Eagles a three-point lead and the win after the top of the ninth inning.

“I was glad to say that we were able to regroup today,” USI head coach Sue Kunkle said. “All of these games are tough in this conference, and we came back ready to go after the first loss.”

The Panthers are currently 20-14 and 9-1 in the OVC. The Panthers will host the Screaming Eagles on Saturday, April 8 at Williams Field. The game is set to start at noon.


Zaria Flippin can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]