Conklin has solid performance despite loss to Little Rock


Rob Le Cates

The Eastern Illinois baseball dropped its first game 4-3 of a three-game series to Ohio Valley Conference opponent Little Rock, Arkansas.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

Sophomore right-hander Tyler Conklin threw 7.1 innings, allowing four hits and four runs, tying his season high of seven strikeouts in Friday’s 4-3 loss to Little Rock at Coaches Stadium.

The Panthers dropped to 1-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference and 17-13 overall.

Conklin faced two of the top six hitters in the OVC, Tyler Williams and Nico Baumbach, during the game. Conklin said he tried to live down and shoot the knees.

“Get ground balls, make them make outs and anything left up obviously was gonna get hit hard,” Conklin said. “So just try to live down and get them to rollover.”

Conklin threw a no-hitter until the top of the fifth inning when junior outfielder Luke Petcol hit a standup double off the centerfield fence.

Head coach Jason Anderson said that Conklin gives the Panthers a chance.

“It’s hard to pitch on the first game of a weekend series,” Anderson said. “He’s a young guy that has a bright future and he’s doing a tremendous job but he’s not getting much help.”

The Panthers recorded a total of seven hits compared to the Trojan’s scoring four runs on four hits.

The Panthers crossed the plate first in the bottom of the third inning. Redshirt junior infielder Robby Taul was walked, and then senior infielder Lucas DiLuca was able to advance Taul to second with a sacrifice fly.

Senior outfielder Lincoln Riley then had a standup double after an overthrow to the Trojan’s first baseman, allowing Taul to score.

In the top of the sixth, the Trojans tied the game and then took the 3-1 lead after a single to center by Baumbach brought in two runners.

The Panthers then had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth as Poorman was walked and stole second on a passed ball. Redshirt junior infielder Nicholas Rucker was also walked.

However, junior catcher Grant Lashure hit into a double play, ending the inning.

In the top of the third inning, redshirt junior infielder Kolten Poorman had his first double-play of the game and his second during the top of the eighth inning.

Anderson said that the Panthers’ defense and pitching has been outstanding but offensively, the Panthers have been struggling.

“Offensively, we played mindless baseball,” Anderson said. “There’s no team at-bats. There’s no thinking to it. It’s just go out there and swing and hope for the best and you can’t do that in this league.”

The Trojans scored their fourth and final run of the game in the top of the eighth inning after freshman catcher Trey Hill hit a solo homerun.

The Panthers rattled the bats in the bottom of the ninth inning. Senior outfielder Jared Evans made it safely to first after an error by the Trojan’s second baseman.

Lashure then stepped up to the plate and hit a double to left-center field. A sacrifice fly by Taul brought in Evans and then a single by Riley brought in Lashure, cutting the lead to 4-3.

The game ended on a flyout.

The Panthers faced the top pitcher in the OVC, sophomore right-hander Jackson Wells. Wells pitched eight innings, allowing five hits and one run while striking out three batters.

Conklin said he would have welcomed run support a bit earlier in the game, but he has full confidence in his teammates.

“We had it going against Western [Illinois] earlier this week and Lindenwood but no run support but it’s all good, I worked my butt off,” Conklin said.

The Panthers will be back in action tomorrow at Coaches Stadium for a doubleheader starting at 11:30 a.m.


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