Eastern Illinois (6-3, 0-0. OVC) at Illinois (3-6, 0-0 WAC)
Tuesday, March 8 at 4:00 pm
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ON-TAP: Eastern Illinois baseball looks to take their three-game winning streak up to Champaign, Ill. as they prepare for a midweek matchup with the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois. The Panthers will play one game on Tuesday, March 8 at 4:00 pm In their last series, the Panthers swept Grambling State for their second consecutive series win.
ON THE MOUND: Starting pitcher Jackson Nichols will be on the mound to start against Illinois on Tuesday afternoon. Nichols has appeared in four games on the season, posting a 2.70 ERA in 3.1 innings pitched. He has given up three hits, two runs, one earned run and has struck out four. He is only giving up a .231 batting average to the opposing team. Nichols looks to pick up his first win of the season against Illinois.
STRONG PITCHING: In their last series at Grambling State, EIU was able to produce a multitude of strong pitching outings that helped the sweep the Tigers. Trevor Nicholson went 1-0 on the weekend after pitching 6.0 innings, allowing six hits, one run, and posted a team-high 12 strikeouts which is the most since 2017 by an EIU pitcher. As a staff in game one, the team posted 19 strikeouts. Cameron Doherty also had a strong outing against Grambling State in game three. He threw 7.0 scoreless innings, allowed four hits and had eight strikeouts. This was the second shutout of the year for EIU. Zane Robbins also collected two saves for EIU over the weekend.
PRESEASON PANTHERS: Eastern Illinois’ Logan Eickhoff and Cameron Doherty both earned preseason All-OVC earlier this offseason. Eickhoff was chosen at the utility position while Doherty was chosen for relief pitching. Eickhoff played in 31 games making 26 starters in the outfield. He was among OVC leaders with a .435 batting average before suffering a mid-season injury. Eickhoff returned on April 30 at SIUE and finished the season hitting .423 to become 23rd player in program history to hit .400 or better during a season. He held an on-base percentage of .463 and slugging percentage of .514. Doherty posted a 3-2 record with a team of high five saves during the season. He finished the season with a 3.45 ERA in 75.2 innings of work. He was also selected as the OVC preseason pitcher of the year for his performance last season.
SERIES HISTORY: Eastern has an all-time record of 24-55 against the University of Illinois. The last time these two teams met, Illinois won by a score of 7-9 in 2017. EIU looks to end their losing streak against Illinois on Tuesday. The Panther’s last Power Five win came against Kansas State last season when they took two games out of a three game series against the Wildcats.
SCOUTING REPORT: Over their first nine games, Illinois has three hitters who have posted a .300 batting average. Ryan Moerman (.321) has played in nine games making seven starts with nine hits, three doubles and four RBI. Jacob Campbell (.316) has started all nine games for Illinois collecting 12 hits, three doubles, one homerun and four RBI. Branden Comia (.303) has started nine games while collecting 10 hits, three doubles, one homerun and five RBI. RHP Ty Rybarczyk will be on the mound for Illinois. On the season he has appeared in three games, while posting a 1.93 ERA.
ON DECK: After the Panthers face Illinois, they will travel to Alabama A&M to play a three game series in Huntsville, Al. starting on Friday, March 11.