Playing against a good 6-2 Kutztown team in Maryland over the weekend, the Slippery Rock University baseball team lost Saturday’s game 1-4 and split the Sunday doubleheader, claiming the early game 9-7 and losing the second 1-5 in a shortened eight-inning game.
Slippery Rock’s four outfielders had a solid weekend, producing five RBIs over the three-game series. Leadoff hitter senior James Divosevic started two of the games in right field and another in center. Divosevic batted three for 11, good for a .273 average. The highlights of Divosevic’s weekend were a double and an RBI, along with one walk and one run scored. Divosevic also struck out three times and committed an error in right field.
Junior Luca Fuscado was the only outfielder to stay at the same position, starting all three games in left field. Fuscardo batted .500, going four for eight with three runs scored and an RBI highlighting his weekend. Fuscado also added two walks, a sacrifice fly and a stolen base in the series.
Sophomore Frankie Jezioro started Saturday’s game in center field, and the late game of the doubleheader at the same post. Jezioro struggled on the weekend, batting .125, going one for eight while striking out three times and leaving five men on base. Junior Kyle Wise started the first half of the doubleheader in right field, going two for four while driving in three runners, the most RBIs of any player in a game for the weekend between both teams.
Catcher will be one of the most interesting positions to watch for The Rock this season, with MLB prospect junior Tyler Walters and junior Christian Porterfield splitting the position over the season. Walters started two of the three games, and struggled mightily. Walters did not record a hit and struck out three times. His only highlights were one walk and one hit by pitch, also adding a run scored on the hit by pitch. Porterfield fared much better batting cleanup and fifth, while being the designated hitter for two of the games. Porterfield went six for 10 with two RBIs, two runs scored, two doubles, two walks and a triple. Porterfield was the first member of the Green and White with two extra base hits in a single game this year.
Moving to the infield, The Rock continued to look for stability on offense and defense, a major struggle in 2016. Sophomore Joe Campagna started all three games at shortstop while only recording one error and began to solidify his role as the team’s six-hitter. Campagna went two for 10, a .200 average, while only leaving one runner on base throughout the weekend.
Senior Carson Kessler started all three games at first base and went two for 12 for the series, good for a .167 average. Kessler hit Slippery Rock’s lone home run on the weekend, which drove in three runs in Slippery Rock’s win on Sunday.
Third base was a carousel over the weekend, with each game having a different starter. All three of the third basemen had nondescript weekends. Sophomore Ray Scala, who also started a game at second base, went two for five with an RBI. Sophomore Tyler Mergliano went one for four with two strikeouts and junior Matt Mendes rounded out the weekend going zero for two with a walk and a run.
Junior Mitchell Wood rounded out the offense for the weekend while starting the other two games at second base and batting ninth. Wood went two for seven while scoring a run and striking out twice.
On the pitching side, The Rock fared surprisingly well on the weekend, with starters combining for 17 innings pitched while giving up six runs. The bullpen recorded 6 innings and gave up four earned runs.
Junior Alex Pantuso had a powerhouse outing and the best one of the weekend. Pantuso looked like an ace, allowing only six base runners in six innings. Pantuso struck out 14 batters while only facing a total of 18.
Senior Preston Falascino started the latter half of Sunday’s doubleheader and also had an impressive outing. Over six innings pitched, Falascino gave up one run on three hits and one walk. Falascino was the second SRU pitcher with double-digit strikeouts, fanning 11.
Junior Matt Gordon started in the lone Rock win, but got touched up in the process. Gordon lasted five innings while allowing 13 base runners, five of which scored. All five runs were earned while Gordon only struck out three.
Highlighting the bullpen was senior Josh Coleman. Coleman threw 2.1 innings, garnering both a save and a loss while striking out four. Junior Shawn Holman was the most efficient out of the pen, hurling 1.2 innings while giving up no runs on one hit and one walk.
Sophomore Wyatt Daugherty claimed Slippery Rock’s lone win on the weekend. Daugherty pitched one inning and gave up one run while striking out two.
Rounding out the weekend were junior Tyler Markovic and sophomore Jay Cortese. Markovic had an ugly appearance on Saturday, only getting one batter out while giving up four runs, two of which were earned, which pinned him with the loss. Finally, Cortese got two outs on Sunday while giving up three runs on two hits and a walk, none of which were earned.
The past weekend’s series left The Rock with a 3-4 record. Slippery Rock will look to make up for the slow start to the season over spring break, where the team is to have a very busy four days; they will play six games against four different teams, all on neutral sites. Slippery Rock starts conference play on March 24 with home games starting the next day in a four-game series against rival Clarion.