Rock baseball (6-21) was unable to get anything going on Saturday, as it dropped the final two games of a four-game series against Mercyhurst University by scores of 10-0 and 11-4.
“It doesn’t matter what level of competition you go up against, especially if you don’t play up to your potential,” Rock head coach Jeff Messer said. “The only way you’re going to beat that Mercyhurst team is to play at their level. We haven’t played at our level no matter who we have played against. We didn’t put everything together and we got beat by a better team.”
The Lakers got out to a commanding lead early, scoring eight runs over the third and fourth innings.
The Rock was never able to recover from the early eight-run deficit and was out-hit by Mercyhurst 14-5.
The Lakers would add another two runs in the fifth and sixth innings en route to a 10-0 shutout win in game one of two.
Missed opportunities with runners on base would prevent SRU from getting on the board in both the first and third innings of play. Lakers starter Joe Gnaciski (3-1) was able to keep The Rock off the board in both of its offensive chances.
Junior James Divosevic would lead The Rock offense in game one, going 2-for-4 with a double. Sophomores Tyler Walters, Matt Mandes and Mitchell Wood would round out The Rock offense, adding one base hit each.Sophomore Matt Gordan (3-2) would get the start for SRU in game one, allowing eight runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts over four innings of work. Freshman Wyatt Daugherty would come on in relief of Gordon, and give up two runs on four hits over the final two innings. Daugherty would also record a season-high three strikeouts in the game.
The offense of SRU would improve in game two, but Mercyhurst would get out to a quick five-run lead in the first inning which proved too much for SRU to overcome.
The Rock would get back into the game in the second inning off a solo home run by sophomore Christian Porterfield. Sophomore Kyle Wise would trim another run off the Mercyhurst lead with an RBI groundout in the fourth inning, in which Walters would cross the plate. The Lakers would expand the lead in the bottom half of the fourth with another run, and add four more runs in the fifth to go ahead 10-2.
SRU would then add two more runs in the sixth inning off a back-to-back solo home runs from senior Alex Bell and Walters. The hope of a comeback by SRU would be cut short as Mercyhurst added another run in the seventh and go on to lose 11-4 in game two. Sophomore Shawn Holman (0-3) got the nod for game two for The Rock. Holman gave up six runs, only two earned, while striking out four batters in four innings. Sophomore Stephen McKee pitched the final two innings in relief of Holman, and allowed five runs along with four strikeouts.
SRU baseball will look to get back on track against Indiana University of Pennsylvania in a four-game series on Friday and Saturday. Messer indicated that he would keep the same four guys in the starting rotation against the Crimson Hawks despite some of their struggles over the weekend, but with senior John Anderson pitching the first game of the four game set, sophomore Alex Pantuso second, Gordon third and Holman fourth.
“We are just thinking one game at a time and just trying to get better every game,” Messer said. “We have the potential to do it, but we have to go out on to the field and actually do it.”
First pitch of the double-header at IUP is set for 1 p.m. on Friday.