The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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Conklin named as EIU starting pitcher after scrimmage

The Panthers have started inter-squad scrimmages until Opening Day.
EIU baseball will play Florida A&M on Feb. 16 in Tallahassee, Florida. (File)

Tyler Conklin will be Eastern’s opening day starting pitcher against Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, manager Jason Anderson said before the team’s first outdoor intersquad scrimmage at O’Brien Field on Thursday. 

Conklin, the junior right-handed pitcher from Maple Park, made 17 appearances on the mound for the Panthers last season with 15 of them as a starter. 

One of the outings out of the bullpen was a three-inning scoreless effort in the Ohio Valley Conference Championship against Morehead State University. 

Conklin posted a 9-6 record with a 5.65 ERA across almost 80 innings. 

Eastern won six of the last seven games Conklin pitched in, with the only loss being a 7-0 loss to Xavier University, which knocked them out of the NCAA Tournament. 

“I think he’s earned it,” Anderson said. “He’s been here for a couple of years, so he’ll get us started.” 

Conklin says that getting the opening day nod doesn’t change anything. 

“I’m very excited,” Conklin said. “Coming off a year where we got a ring in the OVC Tournament, [we’re] super excited to get the start down in Florida. Hopefully we win that series and get rolling.” 

Conklin got a chance to pitch in a scrimmage game on Friday, throwing 60 pitches in multiple innings of work. Conklin recorded three strikeouts, gave up two hits and gave up two earned runs in total. 

Anderson said that beyond who touches the rubber first, everything else is still up in the air for opening day. 

“We’re healthy right now, so we have depth. Everybody’s out here competing for opportunities, so I’m going to allow them to do that,” Anderson said. 

The team is hoping to replicate their conference success from last season and get back to where they were: the NCAA Regional round playing teams like Vanderbilt University and Xavier. 

Anderson said teams like Vanderbilt play the game on a different level but playing at that level makes the Panthers a better team. 

“Everybody (Vanderbilt pitchers) throws 97-98 [mph]; it’s really tough to duplicate that at the mid-major level,” Anderson said. “We’re not afraid of them, and we’re not afraid of obstacles, but any time you get an opportunity to do it, it’s beneficial in some way.” 

The Panthers plan on continuing to prepare for the season with intersquad scrimmages scheduled to take place throughout the weekend. 

The Panther’s first game is scheduled for Feb. 16 in Tallahassee, Florida. 

  

Gabe Newman can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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