The Slippery Rock baseball team lost three out of four games against Lock Haven University on Saturday and Sunday as they continue to struggle in conference play.
The Rock played Lock Haven in a doubleheader on Saturday at Foundation Field in Lock Haven and another doubleheader against them on Sunday at Jack Critchfield Park.
In the first game on Saturday, Slippery Rock put four runs on the board before the Bald Eagles scored three runs in the bottom of the 6th and two more runs in the bottom of the 7th to win by the score of 5 to 4, handing Slippery Rock another tally in the loss column.
The Rock recorded five hits, one of them being a Brandon Myers solo home-run in the 4th inning. Senior pitcher Zach Jeney lasted six innings and had nine strikeouts while giving up four hits, two earned runs, and an unearned run before John Kovalik came in to finish the game in the 7th.
Jeney earned a no-decision for the game as Kovalik allowed two runs to score, giving Lock Haven a come from behind victory.
Coach Jeff Messer said that one of the problems that needs to be resolved is inconsistency.
“Losing a dozen games by one run or in late innings has been our downfall to this point in the season,” Messer said, “It’s been difficult finishing games.”
The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was a scoreless tie the first three innings until Slippery Rock scored five runs on six hits in the top of the 4th inning to gain the lead.
The 4th inning accounted for half of the Rock’s 12 hits, but also accounted for all of their runs for the game. Lock Haven scored one run in the bottom of the 4th, but scored eight in the 5th inning to take the lead.
The Bald Eagles would hang on and win the game 9 to 5, giving the Rock its second loss of the day. Rock left fielder Ben Bechtol was a perfect three for three with an RBI and second baseman Matt Curtis was one for three with two RBIs. Freshman Garret Peterson pitched four innings and allowed five hits and six earned runs in the loss.
Slippery Rock traveled home to face Lock Haven on Sunday to finish their four game series with the Bald Eagles.
Game one of the doubleheader proved to be an offensive explosion for the Rock as they put up 20 runs and earned the victory in decisive fashion, 20 to 2.
Slippery Rock scored one run in the 1st inning, two in the 2nd, three in the 3rd, four in the 4th, eight in the 5th, and two in the 6th, all on a total of 16 hits and 10 walks.
Matt Kosik had five RBIs and a home run as the designated hitter and senior captain Carter Haponski drove in four RBIs on two hits. Right fielder Graeme Zaparzynski was the player who recorded the most hits for the green and white, as he went three for five. Not only did Slippery Rock look good in the batter’s box, but despite three errors they looked just as good in the field and on the mound. Lou Trivino struck out nine batters and allowed two runs as he pitched a complete game for the Rock.
The last game was a different story than the first game on Sunday, as Slippery Rock lost 4 to 0 in extra innings. The game remained a scoreless tie until the top of the 8th inning when Lock Haven scored all four of their runs. Slippery Rock recorded five hits, four of which came from Myers and Curtis, and had one error. Kovalik was credited with the loss in relief of Anton Constantino.
The Rock has an upcoming four-game series with Clarion University beginning on Friday March 30th at 1 p.m. Coach Messer said that the series with Clarion will be a crucial one as his team needs a strong weekend in order to be back in the PSAC hunt.
“Clarion has one of the strongest offensive lineups in the PSAC,” Messer said, “We have been working extremely hard at team defense and a better offensive approach.”
When asked about the expectations for the rest of the season, Messer said that the goal still remains to make PSAC playoffs.
“We’re looking to be competitive in the rest of the PSAC season and continue to strive for increased mental toughness,” Messer said.
The series against Clarion features two games on Friday in Clarion and two games in Slippery Rock at Jack Critchfield Park on Saturday.