After a six game road trip, Eastern returned home to Turkey Hughes Field to host a three game series against the Purple Aces of the University of Evansville, followed by a one-game stint at the University of Dayton.
The Colonels played its first game at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 25, losing to the Aces (11-11) 4-0, followed by a double-header on Saturday, March 26. EKU (11-14, 1-5 OVC) won its first game of the double-header 6-5, before dropping the second game 10-2. Three days later, the Colonels traveled to Dayton, Ohio and fell to the Flyers (6-17, 0-3 A-10) by a score of 5-2.
Since a three game win streak that pushed the Colonels record to two games above .500, EKU has gone 1-6 in its last seven games.
In the first game of the series, Evansville pitcher Connor Strain (2-1) earned the win after helping the Purple Aces throw a shutout. Strain pitched six innings, striking out eight batters and giving up just three hits to the Colonels. Strain walked just one batter.
Evansville had six hits during the game, two of which left the park for home runs. Designated hitter Travis Tokarek hit the first homer in the top of the fourth inning and scored two runs on the shot that made its way over the right field fence. The home run was Tokarek’s only hit in four at-bats.
The second home run came in the top of the sixth inning when third baseman Jonathan Ramon hit one out of left field. Ramon went 1-for-3 at the plate with one RBI.
The loss was EKU starting pitcher Eric Nerl’s (3-1) first of the season. Nerl pitched eight innings, striking out five batters and giving up six hits that resulted in four earned runs.
Sophomore center-fielder Daniel McFarland singled down the right field line to score the game’s winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
EKU led 5-1 after five innings, but Evansville scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning to narrow the margin.
Caleb Johnson (3-1), a junior right-handed pitcher, earned the win for EKU. Johnson pitched four innings, striking out two batters and giving up three hits that resulted in one earned run.
The Colonels had 12 hits to the Aces’ nine.
Senior left-fielder Kyle Nowlin cranked two homers during EKU’s victory; one out of right field in the first inning, and one out of left field in the fifth inning. Nowlin went 3-for-5 at the plate with three hits, two runs and three RBI’s.
McFarland went 4-for-5 at the plate with one run and one RBI.
The third and final game of the series was one-sided, as the Aces scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning and three in the top of the ninth.
Evansville had 11 hits to the Colonels’ nine, but EKU was unable to make the most of its opportunities. The Colonels registered three errors during the loss.
Purple Aces’ first baseman Eric McKibban had two hits in four at-bats and scored runs on both. McKibban had two RBI’s. Ramon went 3-for-5 at the plate for Evansville.
Evansville pitcher Patrick Schnieders (2-1) earned the win after pitching seven innings. Schnieders had five strikeouts and gave up seven hits to EKU, allowing just two earned runs.
The Colonels took to the road on Tuesday, March 29, to face the Flyers from the University of Dayton.
Despite committing five errors, Dayton was able to score five runs on 10 total hits. The Flyers scored two runs in the bottom of the third and fourth innings to go up 4-0 on EKU.
The Colonels lone scoring inning came in the top of the seventh inning when second baseman Kenny Hostrander scored on a fly-out from McFarland. EKU short stop Cole Warrenfeltz scored right after on a Dayton error.
Flyer outfielder Glenn Jones led Dayton at the plate with three hits and a run in four at-bats.
Sophomore left-hander Mason Kutruff (1-3) earned the win for the Flyers, pitching seven innings and not allowing any earned runs.
EKU will host conference and in-state rival Morehead State for a three-game weekend series that begins at 6:30 p.m., Friday, April 1. The series will resume at 4 p.m., Saturday, April 2, followed by a final game against the Racers at 1 p.m., Sunday, April 3.