Rock baseball (1-1) began its 2016 campaign Saturday afternoon in Belmont, NC as the team split a doubleheader with Belmont Abbey College (4-3-1), dropping the first game 7-6 but bouncing back for a 2-1 victory in game two.
Sophomore Tyler Walters struck first for SRU in game one with an RBI single in the first inning, soon followed by a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded to go up 2-0. Over the next two innings, The Rock built a 5-0 lead at the end of the third inning.
However, Belmont Abbey’s comeback began as Nick Nunziato hit a three-run homer in the bottom half of the third of SRU starting pitcher sophomore Alex Pantuso. Pantuso was replaced by sophomore Matt Gordon in the fifth, who lasted just one and a third innings before junior James Divosevic entered to pitch the remainder of the game. Divosevic was tacked with the loss after giving up a walk-off single in the eighth to Weston Clark.
Rock senior pitcher Jon Anderson posted a strong starting pitching performance in game two, going perfect through the first four innings of play before allowing a single in the fifth. Anderson struck out six while allowing one unearned run through six innings of work, good enough for his first win of the season. Freshman Wyatt Daugherty entered the game in the bottom of the seventh and allowed just one hit but no runs to earn his first collegiate save during his SRU debut.
The game was a scoreless tie entering the fourth inning until junior Preston Falascino hit an RBI single, scoring senior catcher Alex Bell. The Crusaders tied the game in the sixth inning thanks to a Rock fielding error, but SRU regained the lead in the top-half of the seventh as freshman Frankie Jezioro scored off an RBI single by Walters, who earned his second RBI of the afternoon.
Slippery Rock continues its opening weekend of play at Wingate University (3-4) with a doubleheader set to start at 1 p.m.