By Cody Gray
The Slippery Rock University baseball team’s record stands at 24-14 after going an even 3-3 in their latest series of doubleheaders on Wednesday and over the weekend.
The Rock swept their doubleheader on Wednesday against Notre Dame College (OH). It wasn’t easy though, as the Rock had to come from behind in one game and go extra frames in another.
Slippery Rock took game one of the doubleheader against Notre Dame by a score of 3-2. The Rock came back from a 2-0 deficit in the third inning with RBI hits from junior Will Kengor and senior John Shaffer.
Junior Mike Dunn pitched six and two thirds innings giving up two earned runs off of ten hits. Notre Dame had runners at second and third with two outs left in the top of the seventh when junior John Kovalik came in to force the final groundout to preserve the win for the Rock.
Game two for the Rock against Notre Dame was another nail biter. Sophomore Anton Constantino took the mound for SRU and pitched five innings, giving up five hits and three earned runs, while striking out four and walking one.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, Slippery Rock capitalized on two Notre Dame miscues, a balk, and a dropped fly ball, to tie it back up at two. Notre Dame would retake a one run lead in the fourth inning, but junior Brandon Myers hit a two RBI single to give SRU their first lead of the game.
Notre Dame would tie it up in the seventh inning off of junior Anthony Naso to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Notre Dame blasted a home run to left field off of Kovalik, to regain the lead. Slippery Rock battled back and once again capitalized off of a Notre Dame error. Junior Graeme Zaparzynski hit the walk off single, driving home Kengor and redshirt freshman Royce Copeland.
Over the weekend, Slippery Rock dropped their series against conference-rival Mercyhurst University. The Rock fell in both of their games at Mercyhurst on Friday, but managed to split the home doubleheader on Saturday. According to head coach Jeff Messer, Mercyhurst was the preseason favorite to win the conference.
The Rock was locked into a pitching duel in the first game against Mercyhurst on Saturday. Sophomore Kyle Schneider took the mound for Slippery Rock and pitched a full seven innings giving up only one earned run off of nine hits while striking out nine and walking no one. The SRU offense couldn’t give any run support though, as they could only produce four hits in a 1-0 loss.
The Slippery Rock bats came alive in the first two innings of the second game as they quickly put up four runs. Shaffer had a RBI double in the first. Kengor hit a two RBI single in the second and also scored two runs himself. Zaparzynski had the other RBI. That was all of the run support redshirt freshman Jon Anderson would need.
Anderson threw five and a third innings, giving up three earned runs off of five hits while walking four and striking out two. Constantino came in the game during the sixth inning to preserve the win for the Rock, striking out two and earning the save, his first of the year.
The doubleheader on Friday in Mercyhurst consisted of two pitcher duels. The first game saw Slippery Rock send junior Lou Trivino to the mound. Trivino pitched the full game, one earned run off of four hits while striking out seven batters. The lone run Trivino gave up came in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Rock never got any offense going, even though they had five hits and eight walks. Mercyhurst took the first game 1-0.
Game two had a similar theme for Slippery Rock. Mercyhurst put up a quick run in the first inning off of sophomore Garret Peterson. Peterson recovered though to pitch four innings, giving up no hits and one unearned run. He also struck out one batter and walked four.
Myers responded quickly for SRU, driving in junior Jake Weibley off of a sacrifice fly in the second inning. The scoreboard stayed at 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh again. The Rock then lost the game in a bizarre fashion. Kovalik walked in the winning run with the bases loaded to give Mercyhurst another walk off win. Kovalik finished the game going two and two thirds innings giving up two hits, striking out three, and walking five batters.
Messer claimed Mercyhurst would be a tough matchup for his team, and he was correct.
Slippery Rock will take on IUP in a home and home doubleheader series on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s games will be held at Jack Critchfield Park in Slippery Rock.