Rock baseball (9-32) was swept in a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon by Shepherd University (25-9), losing a closely contested game one 5-3 before dropping the second game 12-4.
Junior Preston Falascino was on the mound to start game one for Slippery Rock. Falascino lasted 6.1 innings while striking out six and allowing just one earned run. Sophomore Stephen McKee would enter the game midway through the seventh inning to record the final two outs in the frame.
“Whenever (Preston) starts he’s very good,” Rock head coach Jeff Messer said. “He has one of our best arms and he is always going to give us a good game. I don’t him coming in out of the bullpen as much because he isn’t as ready because he’s a position player.”
SRU took an early 2-1 lead in game one after sophomore Mitchell Wood singled in freshman Joe Campagna. Wood was later driven in by freshman Frankie Jezioro.
Shepherd would respond by scoring three runs in the top of the third inning to secure the lead for the remainder of the game. Wood hit another RBI single in the fourth inning, but that would be the last of SRU’s scoring efforts in the 5-3 loss.
“Shepherd’s on the top teams in the region,” Messer said. “We had the bases loaded a couple of times toward the end of the game with some of our best hitters up and we had chances to win the game, but there’s a reason they’re 25-9 and we’re 9-32.”
Slippery Rock’s pitching created a big hole for itself early in the second game, allowing 10 runs total over the game’s first two innings. Freshman Jay Cortese was credited with the loss, starting the game but lasting just one inning after giving up four runs. Freshman Wyatt Daugherty, sophomore Andrew Null, junior Josh Coleman and McKee all saw time on the pitcher’s bump as well.
“We just tried to evaluate for next year by giving our freshmen pitcher’s an inning each and before we knew it we were down 10-0,” Messer said. “From the third inning on we out scored them 4-2, but those first couple innings hurt us. We went with two different lineups on the day and they stuck with the pretty much the same thing and that’s what got them to the big lead.”
Falascino, the starting pitcher from game one, smacked a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning. Senior Jordan Faretta added an additional run for The Rock in the fourth inning with an RBI single.
SRU continues its season in Greensburg, Pa. as it takes on Seton Hill University to begin a four-game home-and-away series with the Griffins. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.