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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EIU baseball struggles with injured pitchers

Sia DeyKoontz
Men’s Baseball team players stand in the dugout at home against Bellarmine at Coaches Stadium on March 12, 2024. Eastern beat Bellarmine 9-4 Tuesday afternoon.

About 10 months ago, EIU’s baseball team was on top of the Ohio Valley Conference. They had just won the OVC Championship Tournament after a nail-biting 6-5 win over the No. 1 seeded Morehead State University, giving them the team its third title in Eastern program history. 

Back to the present day, Eastern’s team has not performed so far to the same standard as last year.  

As of April 1, the team stands at 6-18 (1-5 in conference), sitting last in the OVC. 

The issue? It seems to be pitching. 

The team has seen 18 separate faces come up to the mound through 24 games. Whether it be because of injury or poor performance, Panther head coach Jason Anderson has had to use more pitchers than he’s got.  

Anderson touched on the need for his experienced pitchers to get healthy again after Eastern’s 20-13 loss against Southeast Missouri State University on March 22. 

The team was 5-13 at the time. 

 “We got a lot of experienced guys who are hurt,” Anderson said. “They need to get out and help us on the mound to help us turn this thing around, hopefully.” 

Eastern gave up 13 walks at this SEMO game, led by senior right-handed pitcher Colton Coca with five. Aside from Coca, sophomore left-handed pitcher Jack Potteiger and senior right-handed pitcher Mitch Alba combined for five walks. 

The walk bug has taken hold across all 18 pitchers this year. 

Eastern has walked 149 players this year, ranking second to last in the OVC. Aside from walks, the team allows a .306 batting average. 

On top of that, the team is giving up an average of 9.25 runs a game in the 2024 season. 

Pulling back the curtain, the culprit is injuries. 

Inexperienced players are being forced to play key roles on the team, but it’s not all bad. 

Take the tale of freshman pitcher Slater Wilcox as an example. 

Wilcox was pulled off the redshirt list to pitch against the University of Tennessee at Martin on March 30. Coming into this game with just six innings of collegiate experience, Wilcox pitched 5.2 innings allowing only one walk. 

The team went on to win 8-4 with Wilcox recording the win. 

Earlier this season, after a 20-9 win over Lindenwood, Anderson showed his appreciation for the freshman on the team in a tweet on X. 

It read, “Love to see the freshman coming out and carrying the water this week.” 

As for the future, Anderson has faith. He noted the team is going through some early struggles yet will get better later in the year. As for now, the young team just needs experience. 

“We need some guys to start winning some individual battles,” Anderson said. “They have the talent; they just don’t have the experience. They’re just playing guys that are more experienced than they are.” 


Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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