The Slippery Rock University baseball team (10-9) split a doubleheader with number 21 overall Mercyhurst (14-1) Tuesday, handing the Lakers its first loss of the season in game one.
SRU beat Mercyhurst 7-6 in game one with a come-from-behind performance, but were unable to stop the Laker’s offensive attack in game two, losing 7-2.
“Every conference game is very important, and we feel like we are just as good as them,” Rock head coach Jeff Messer said. “Our guys were able to bounce back in the first game and it was good to at least earn a split with a quality team.”
Senior Garet Peterson was the starting pitcher for Slippery Rock in game one, lasting just four innings after allowing six runs on four hits and seven walks. Sophomore Preston Falascino took over on the mound in the fifth inning and pitched the remaining three innings of the game. Falascino allowed no runs on one hit and earned his first win of the season.
In addition to pitching during game one, Falascino was also able to go 2-4 at the plate with two runs batted in and one run scored. Senior shortstop Jake Nogalo also helped the Rock’s offense by going 1-1 with an RBI double and three walks. Freshman catcher Tyler Walters also stood out on offense for SRU after batting 1-2 with one RBI and one run scored as well. Redshirt-junior Kyle Vozar also had two hits and two RBIs.
Freshman Alex Pantuso was on the mound for Slippery Rock to start game two. Pantuso allowed five runs on five hits in 5.1 innings of work. He was replaced by sophomore James Divosevic in the sixth inning. Divosevic allowed one run on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. Freshman Stephen McKee came in to pitch the final inning. He allowed one run while striking out one. Pantuso was credited with his first collegiate loss.
“It was good to see Alex out there pitching in a live game against good competition,” Messer said. “We are always looking for opportunities to get our young guys out there, and despite the circumstances, we think Alex had a solid outing.”
In the third inning of game two, the Rock’s offense got going. Sophomore Ty Zimmerman scored on an error, quickly followed by an RBI single to left field from senior Adam Urbania. Nogalo, Zimmerman and junior second baseman Jordan Faretta were the only other Rock batters able to get hits off of the Mercyhurst pitchers.
SRU’s season continues with a double header at home against California University of Pennsylvania (8-11) on Friday at 1 p.m.