After winning 11 of their last 12 games, the Slippery Rock baseball team dropped all four games against Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) rival Mercyhurst University over the weekend.
The Rock, now 15-9 (7-5 in PSAC), lost both games at Mercyhurst on Saturday by one run each and was shut out in both games at home on Sunday.
Game one for The Rock was started by junior pitcher Alex Pantuso. Pantuso pitched five complete innings but did not have his regular control, giving up three earned runs and walking eight batters. Pantuso kept the game close enough for the Green and White to make it interesting, as senior outfielder Jimmy Divosevic drove in runs in both the fifth and seventh innings, but could not complete the comeback as SRU lost 3-2. Divosevic led the team with both runs batted in. Junior second baseman Mitchell Wood led the team with two hits and two runs scored.
The night cap on Saturday was started by senior Preston Falascino for Slippery Rock. Falascino pitched five and two thirds innings, giving up four earned runs and striking out eight. The Rock struck first in this game on a first inning, run-scoring single by senior first baseman Carson Kessler. Mercyhurst tied the game in the bottom of the first inning and scored two more runs in the bottom of the second to take a 3-1 lead.
Slippery Rock kept fighting however, tying the game in the sixth inning on a two-run single by Wood. The tie would not last however, as Falascino surrendered a solo home run in the bottom of the inning and Mercyhurst would shut the door the rest of the way en route to a 4-3 victory.
The Rock returned home Sunday to complete the series and to try and take at least one game from the Lakers. Starting game three for SRU was junior pitcher Matt Gordon. Gordon matched the Mercyhurst starter pitch for pitch, keeping the game scoreless through the first four innings. Mercyhurst was able to push across a run in the top of the fifth inning and three more in the top of the sixth and the Green and White were unable to respond, leading to a 4-0 Laker win.
Gordon pitched six full innings, giving up all four earned runs while allowing a season-low six hits and striking out five. The Rock offense was next to nonexistent in the game, collecting only three hits and striking out nine times.
Game four was The Rock’s last chance to salvage a game from the series. Sophomore Trevor Adkins started on the mound for SRU, but only lasted an inning and a third, giving way to fellow senior Wyatt Daugherty. Adkins and Daugherty combined for four scoreless innings, keeping the game tied at zero, but just like in game three, the scoreless tie would not last past the fifth inning.
Mercyhurst scored three runs in the fifth inning off of senior Josh Coleman, and SRU’s offense continued to be silenced when the Lakers cruised to a 3-0 victory, completing the weekend sweep. Kessler and freshman outfielder Frankie Jezioro both collected two hits in the contest.
Aside from being swept, also concerning for The Rock is that junior outfielder Luca Fuscardo, one of SRU’s best hitters thus far, was removed from game two at Mercyhurst in the first inning and did not appear in either game on Sunday.
The Rock will look to rebound Wednesday afternoon in an out-of-conference match-up against Mansfield University at 2:00 p.m. The Mountaineers are 15-15 on the season and are coming off of back-to-back losses to Bloomsburg University Sunday afternoon.