The Slippery Rock University baseball team lost the opening round of the Dinwiddie Invitational Tournament on Saturday 6-4 against Saint Thomas Aquinas College in Dinwiddie, Va.
This loss drops The Rock’s record on the 2016 season to 1-4, while the Spartans pick up their first win of the season and start off at a 1-0 mark.
SRU was able to get on the board first as sophomore Tyler Walters hit a two-out home run in the first inning. Getting out to a 1-0 lead was perfect for sophomore Alex Pantuso, as he got the nod to start at pitcher for The Rock. Pantuso shut down the Spartan batters with an impressive first four innings, recording seven strikeouts and only allowing one hit.
Saint Thomas Aquinas was able to get to Pantuso in the fifth and sixth innings, however, to take a 2-1 lead. The Rock answered right back in the bottom of the sixth, tallying two runs to retake the lead 3-2. Senior Jordan Faretta got things going with a leadoff single, and scored off of freshman Frankie Jezioro hitting a two-run home run. The home run was Jezioro’s first of his collegiate playing career.
Pantuso was relieved in the top of the seventh inning by sophomore Stephen McKee (0-2). Pantuso finished the day with a career-high 11 strikeouts over six innings of work, allowing only two runs on five hits and two walks. McKee threw a scoreless seventh inning, but surrendered three runs in the eighth to give Saint Thomas Aquinas a 5-3 lead. McKee finished the day throwing 1.1 innings and allowing three runs while striking out two.
The Rock was able to cut one run off its deficit in the bottom of the eighth as sophomore Mitchell Wood lead off with a solo home run to cut the lead to 5-4. The attempt at a comeback by SRU would fall short as the Spartan bullpen recorded six straight outs, and added another run in the ninth to secure a 6-4 win.
Junior James Divosevic pitched the final 1.2 innings for The Rock, and he struck out two and gave up one unearned run.
Chris Pennell (1-0) earned his first win of the season for the Spartans, after going two innings and allowing one run in relief of starter Matt Kostalos. George Navedel recorded his first save of the season as he tossed a perfect ninth inning.
Slippery Rock will resume play at the Dinwiddie Invitational, as they will play West Chester University at 12 p.m. followed by Philadelphia University at 6 p.m.