Hitting for a cycle is one of the “rarest feats in baseball,” according to Baseball Digest. Typically, a home run, or more often a triple, holds a player back from completing the coveted cycle.

In the case of sophomore Alex Rebonholt, he got the home run early, smacking a homer to left-center in the top of the second inning, giving the Slippery Rock baseball team (3-1, 0-0) an early 1-0 lead.

Rebonholt doubled to center in the top of the third inning, scoring a pair of runs as he pushed Slippery Rock to a 4-0 lead.

In his next at-bat in the top of the fifth inning, Rebonholt swatted a triple down the right-field line, scoring another run, pushing the Slippery Rock lead to 5-1 — 6-1 when he scored on a passed ball — and picked up arguably the most difficult hit of a cycle.

Coming up to the plate in the top of the seventh inning, Rebonholt needed just a single to hit for the cycle. He took just one pitch, fouling out to the West Virginia State second basemen, falling just a single shy of the cycle.

While Rebonholt didn’t hit for the cycle, he did power the Slippery Rock offense to a 6-2 victory over West Virginia State in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader in Dunbar, West Virginia.

Rebonholt and senior Connor Hamilton combined to go 5-of-7 at the plate, driving in five runs, scoring four of their own, on a single, a double, a triple and a home run.

Sophomore Andy McClymonds took the mound for game one, throwing 100 pitches over six innings. McClymonds allowed two earned on four hits, striking out nine West Virginia State batters, to pick up his first win of the season.

Sophomore Christian Seelhorst came in for McClymonds in the seventh inning, pitching a scoreless final frame, allowing just one hit while striking out the first and last batter of the game.

West Virginia State struck first in game two, with WVSU’s Matthew Kline belting a double off of Rock starter Luke Trueman, driving in the first run of the contest in the bottom of the first inning.

Junior Nick Reynosa drove in the first run of the game for Slippery Rock, hitting a single up the middle of the infield to drive in sophomore Jon Kozarian.

A scoreless third inning for both teams evolved into hot-hitting fourth and fifth innings.

Sophomore Quentin Brown and Kozarian started the fourth inning with singles before sophomore Zach Mancz drew a walk to load the bases. Reynosa drove in Brown and Kozarian with another single through the infield, and junior Abraham Mow tacked on another run with an RBI sac fly to score Mancz.

Entering the fifth inning leading 4-1, Slippery Rock got off to a hot start with a solo shot from Hamilton on the first pitch of the inning. Another Rebonholt double, and another passed ball, allowed him to score on an error on the next at-bat.

Kozarian cranked a double to right-center, forcing a West Virginia State pitching change with the score at 6-1.

Brown and Kozarian scored on a pair of errors, a wild pitch and a passed ball, to push Slippery Rock’s lead to 8-1 at the end of the fifth inning.

West Virginia State would earn a bases-loaded opportunity of its own with a pair of singles and a walk drawn off of Trueman.

Kline smacked a double into right-center field, scoring all three baserunners to cut the deficit to 8-4. An error from freshman Kolby Bolbash allowed West Virginia State’s Trey Junkins to advance to second, scoring Kline.

West Virginia State’s Jared Hunt singled to center field two at-bats later, scoring a fifth run in the inning and would end Trueman’s day at 4.2 innings pitched. Trueman allowed four earned runs — six total — on nine hits while striking out two WVSU batters.

Junior Derek Bobin entered the game in relief of Trueman, forcing the last out of the inning on a fielder’s choice.

Trailing 8-6 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, West Virginia State’s first two batters of the inning flied out and ground out. The next reached first on a single and scored during the next at-bat off an error from Bolbash.

A walk and a hit by pitch loaded the bases for West Virginia State, but Bobin was able to force the final WVSU batter to ground out to first base, securing an 8-7 victory and picking up the save.

Hamilton showed his mettle, rebounding from a less than stellar debut to go 4-of-6 with a home run, a pair of walks and two RBI. Rebonholt each went 4-for-8 from the plate, combining for three doubles, a triple, a home run and five RBI.

With the pair of wins over West Virginia State on Sunday, Slippery Rock was able to secure a series sweep, going 3-1 over the weekend.

Slippery Rock will have the week off before traveling to Cary, North Carolina for the D2 Challenge over the week of spring break. SRU will take on Molloy College Friday, with the first pitch scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

Karl is a senior sport management major and communication minor entering his second year on The Rocket staff. He will serve as the sports editor after previously serving as the assistant sports editor. During his time with The Rocket, he has covered a majority of sports on campus, and he hopes to cover them all by the time his time with the paper is over. After graduation, he hopes to work in the sports writing field.

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