The Slippery Rock baseball team swept Clarion University for the second time this season, winning both games of a doubleheader Monday.
This puts the Green and White one game behind Mercyhurst University in the PSAC West standings.
Last weekend, SRU split a doubleheader with the Univeristy of Pitt-Johnstown, which kept the Mountain Cats one game behind the Rock in the PSAC standings.
The Rock controlled game one of the doubleheader, shutting out Clarion 6-0. Slippery Rock kept putting pressure on Clarion in game two, and came out with a 4-2 victory against the Golden Eagles.
The wins place Slippery Rock one game behind Mercyhurst University in the PSAC West standings, and the two teams will face each other this weekend in a four game set.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it’s always tough sweeping a doubleheader,” head coach Jeff Messer said. “We knew we had to go in and win the doubleheader because we had some pressure on us, and out two starting pitchers (senior Anthony Naso and freshman Preston Falascino) made a huge difference.”
Naso led the Slippery Rock to victory in game one with an outstanding pitching performance.
Naso pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just one hit, striking out four, and walking two.
“I just had everything working on Monday,” Naso said. “I was able to get a lot of ground balls for my teammates to field. With only four strikeouts, it was big for me to be able to put a lot of balls on the ground.”
Slippery Rock’s offense got going in the top of the second inning when senior Graeme Zaparzynski hit an RBI single down the right field line.
Senior Will Kengor also had an RBI single in the same inning, followed by a two RBI single from junior Jake Nogalo.
In the sixth inning, freshman Carson Kessler added another run to the Rock’s score with an RBI sacrifice fly to right field, scoring sophomore Jordan Faretta from third.
Senior Kevin Jovanovich then topped off the Rock’s scoring in the seventh inning when he hit an RBI single to right field, scoring junior Adam Urbania from second base.
Freshman Preston Falascino was on the mound for Slippery Rock in game two, going five and one-third innings, and allowing just two runs on six Clarion hits.
Senior relief pitcher John Kovalik entered the game in the middle of the sixth inning, and stayed on the mound for Slippery Rock for the remainder of the game.
Kovalik struck out two batters and earned his sixth save of the season, while Falascino was earned his second win of the year.
The Rock scored in the second inning of game two when redshirt-sophomore Kyle Vozar hit into a fielder’s choice, but an error by Clarion second baseman allowed Kevin Jovanovich to score.
Zaparzynski hit an RBI single to right field in the fourth inning, followed up by an RBI double by Will Kengor.
Sophomore Alex Bell added an extra run for the Rock in the seventh inning when he hit an RBI single, scoring Kengor.
The Rock will open up their final regular season series with Mercyhurst University with a doubleheader at their own Jack Critchfield Park on Friday, game one beginning at 1 p.m.
The series will then head north to Erie on Saturday afternoon, where the two teams will finish the series at Mercyhurst.