The Slippery Rock baseball team split a double header with their conference foe Shippensburg on Saturday. The Rock took game one from the Raiders after sophomore catcher Alex Bell hit a game-tying home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and a walk-off RBI single in the eleventh to win the game 5-4. Slippery Rock eventually dropped game two 6-5, bringing their overall win-loss record to 5-4.
“All credit goes to Alex Bell for that first game,” junior Adam Urbania said. “It can’t get much better than coming up to bat in the ninth with two outs and hitting a homerun, and then hitting a game winning hit extra innings.”
Senior Garrett Peterson was the starting pitcher for Slippery Rock in game one. Peterson lasted four and one third innings, allowing two runs on three hits, walking four and striking out three. Junior Kyle Schneider came in to relieve Peterson in the top of the fifth. Schneider remained in the game through the ninth inning, giving up two runs on five hits, walking one, and striking out two. Senior John Kovalik came in to replace Schneider in the top of the tenth inning, and pitched both innings in extra frames. Kovalik allowed zero hits and zero runs in two innings of work while striking out one. Kovalik was eventually credited with the win.
The Rock’s offense was unable to get going until the bottom of the eighth inning. Adam Urbania kick started the offense with a leadoff triple, and eventually scored on a passed ball. Senior Brandon Myers added a two RBI single with the bases loaded, scoring sophomore Jordan Faretta and senior Kevin Jovanovich. The stage was then set for Alex Bell, who slammed his game tying home run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. Senior Graeme Zaparzynski led off the bottom of the eleventh inning with single, followed by a sacrifice bunt by senior Will Kengor to advance Zaparzynski to second. Shippensburg then made the bold decision to intentionally walk the hot-hitting Adam Urbania to get to Alex Bell. Bell then made them pay by hitting the walk off single, scoring Zaparzynski from second.
“I hadn’t had a hit before I hit that home run in the ninth, so I wasn’t hitting that great before hand,” Bell said. “I knew when (Adam) Urbania was coming up in the eleventh that they were likely to walk him because he was on fire. I was just looking for the right pitch and luckily I was able to come through once again.”
Redshirt-sophomore John Anderson was on the mound for the Rock in game two. Anderson went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, walking just one batter while striking out nine. Senior Ryan Oglesby entered the game to pitch the extra frame for Slippery Rock in the top of the eighth inning. Oglesby struggled and only lasted two thirds of the inning, allowing three runs on three hits, and walking two. John Kovalik then entered the game to record the final out of the inning, by getting Shippensburg’s Cal Hogan to ground out to third.
Adam Urbania started up Slippery Rock’s offense in game two, slapping an RBI single past the shortstop, scoring Will Kengor. Urbania eventually scored after redshirt-sophomore Kyle Vozar hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Alex Bell added to his big day at the plate by hitting an RBI single to left field in the fifth, scoring Graeme Zaparzynski. The Rock entered the eighth inning down by three runs, but were unable to overcome the deficit. Senior Jake Weibley hit an RBI single, scoring sophomore Logan Brown. Jordan Faretta also came across the plate as Graeme Zaparzynski hit a sacrifice fly to center field. The following at-bat was by All-American shortstop Will Kengor who flew out center for the third out of the inning, sealing the Rock’s fate in game two.
Slippery Rock will be traveling to Clearwater, Fl. over spring break to play a series of eight games versus multiple teams.
“We have eight different guys who will be starting as pitcher for us,” head coach Jeff Messer said. “We are going to make sure that most of our guys get a good amount of work in, and are healthy enough to be ready to pitch when we come home for conference play.”
The first game will be against Ohio Valley University on Thursday, March 13 at 4:00 pm. The Rock will also meet up with region foe’s Mansfield University in a double header, and West Chester University.