The Slippery Rock University baseball team split a home doubleheader series against California University of Pa. on Friday and Saturday, putting themselves at a 29-17 (11-9) record going into the final weekend of regular season play.
The weekend split put Slippery Rock into fifth place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-West division, moving behind Indiana University of Pa. Cal still resides in first place with Gannon University and Mercyhurst University following them.
The first part of the doubleheader series occurred on Friday in Slippery Rock.
Game one saw Slippery Rock send their ace pitcher, junior Lou Trivino, to the mound. Trivino pitched seven shutout innings of baseball, giving up only four hits while giving no free passes and striking out seven.
Trivino earned the PSAC-west player of the week honors for his effort.
“I felt really good throwing last weekend,” Trivino said. “I was able to hit my spots and we were able to play some great defense and get some runs in.”
In the second inning, sophomore Jake Nogalo drove in junior Jake Weibley in the second inning to give the Rock a 1-0 lead.
Senior John Shaffer grounded into a double play in the third inning, but scored junior Will Kengor in the process. Senior Austin Benshadle scored in the fourth inning after the Cal pitcher threw a wild pitch to make it 3-0. Weibley drove in junior Kevin Jovanovich on an RBI double in the fifth to add an insurance run for SRU. The Rock would take game one 4-0.
Slippery Rock sent sophomore Garret Peterson to the mound in game two of the doubleheader. Peterson pitched five innings of shutout ball, giving up only three hits, while striking out three and walking only one.
The Rock put up three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to RBI singles from junior Graeme Zaparzynski and Shaffer. Zaparzynski would later score on a passed ball.
Cal scored three runs to tie the game off of sophomore pitcher Anton Constantino in the sixth and seven innings. Junior Mike Dunn came in to relieve Constantino and helped send the game to extra frames.
Dunn pitched two and two thirds innings, giving up only one hit while walking and striking out two batters.
Game two went into the ninth frame before Shaffer drove in Zaparzynski on an RBI single to give SRU the 4-3 walk-off win.
The Rock traveled down to Cal-U on Saturday for the second part of the doubleheader series and dropped both games.
Starting game one of the series for SRU was sophomore Kyle Schneider. Schneider pitched three and two thirds innings, giving up nine earned runs off of twelve hits, while walking two and striking out only one.
The Rock got off to a 4-0 lead in the first four innings. Kengor scored in the first from a wild pitch. Nogalo drove in junior Brandon Myers on an RBI single in the second. Shaffer drove in Kengor and Zaparzynski in the third inning. Cal would cut the lead down to 4-3 in the bottom of the third, and took over it, 9-4, in the fourth frame.
Junior Anthony Naso took over for Schneider with two outs left in the fourth. Naso would finish the game giving up only one earned run off of two hits while walking only one batter.
Jovanovich and Weibley would drive in runs to cut Cal’s lead down to 9-6 in the fifth inning, but that was the closest Slippery Rock would get as they dropped game one 10-6.
Redshirt freshman Jon Anderson took the mound for SRU in game two in Cal.
Anderson gave up five earned runs, seven total runs, off of five hits while striking out two and walking only one. Both teams battled to a 3-3 tie after three innings. After that, the Cal offense exploded, while their pitching staff shut down the Rock offense.
Cal scored seven runs in the fourth inning off of Anderson and Dunn. Cal added two more runs when junior Zac Anderson came into the game to finish off the last two innings.
Cal took game two in a dominating 12-3 fashion and earned redemption for their losses in Slippery Rock.
Slippery Rock will take on Gannon in the last weekend of the regular season in a home doubleheader. The Rock is only two games out of first place in the PSAC-West division.