Offense powers Rock baseball to extend win streak to 10

Published by , Author: Justin Kraus - Rocket Contributor, Date: April 3, 2017

The Slippery Rock university baseball team swept a doubleheader against the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown on Saturday in thunderous fashion, scoring 29 runs between the two contests. The Rock won the two games 17-10 and 12-6, respectively.

The star of the day was junior catcher Tyler Walters, who passed former Rock superstar and current St. Louis Cardinal’s first baseman Matt Adams for second place on Slippery Rock’s all-time home run list by hitting a home run in each game. Walters finished an impressive 8-9 on the day, with six of those hits going for extra bases. Walters brought home 11 runs between the two games, also walking and stealing a base.

Walter’s platoon with junior catcher Christian Porterfield has worked wonders for The Rock all season, and Saturday was no exception. Porterfield also had a ridiculous day at the plate, going 5-8 while driving in eight runs, drawing two walks, hitting his fourth home run, and slapping three more doubles.

While Walters and Porterfield combined to drive in 19 of the Rock’s 29 runs, they weren’t the only ones with success on the day. The Rock saw some unexpected production from the hot corner on Saturday, with junior Matt Mendes and sophomore Tyler Mergliano splitting the two starts. Both third basemen went 2-4 respectively and hit in two runs apiece, also scoring three runs combined. Mendes also ripped a double, and Mergliano hit his first triple of the season.

Slippery Rock’s outfield has been showing that it is one of the best in the region, and Saturday only furthered the point. Success was spread around the outfield grass, with three RBIs between the four players who started. Sophomore Frankie Jezioro started both games in center field and went 3-8 while driving in a run and hitting both a double and a triple. Senior James Divosevic started both games in right field, going 5-8 with and RBI in the leadoff spot, also scoring five runs. Left field was split up between the two games, with junior transfer Luca Fuscardo starting the first game, finishing 2-5 with and RBI and four runs scored. Junior Kyle Wise started the latter half of the doubleheader, going 0-4.

Rounding out the offense was the rest of the infield, looking for offensive consistency. Sophomore shortstop Joey Campagna continued progressing at the plate, finishing 4-9 with two RBIs and a walk. Junior Mitchell Wood started both games at second base, going 1-6, but scoring three runs and walking once. Finally, Senior first basemen Carson Kessler went 3-9 while scoring a run.

With the insane amount of offense present on Saturday, Rock pitching was able to lag behind just a bit and still claim both wins. The first portion of the doubleheader featured junior pitcher Alex Pantuso. Pantuso lacked his usual punch but still totaled four strikeouts in four innings pitched, while giving up six runs off of four hits and six walks.

The bullpen was a big help in game one, pitching the final three innings of the contest. Senior Josh Coleman pitched the fifth inning in this game in dominant fashion; striking out the side while only allowing one walk. Sophomore Jay Cortese struggled through the sixth inning, relinquishing four runs off of five hits. Sophomore Chris Anastas finished the game with a perfect seventh inning, striking out one batter.

Game two was a one-man-show for senior Preston Falascino, who threw the first complete game on the season for the Rock. Falascino ended up giving up six runs with only four of them earned. Falascino also allowed thirteen baserunners, with 11 of them reaching base on a hit.

Slippery Rock will conclude its’ four-game series with UPJ on Monday at home with another doubleheader. The games are scheduled, to tentatively start at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.


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