After going 10-4 in pre-conference play to start the season, Slippery Rock baseball has faltered.
Since March 27, The Rock made up their postponed game against Mercyhurst University, played a series against Indiana University (Pa.), played one game against Ashland University and started their series versus California University (Pa.) with an away doubleheader.
The makeup game against Mercyhurst was a closely fought, extra-inning affair in which SRU finished on top.
Jake Norris collected the win in relief after The White and Green pushed across one run on a Luke Trueman home run in the top of the eighth inning. Norris finished the game with four strikeouts over two innings and no runs allowed.
It was a combined pitching effort as five total pitchers had time on the mound.
Four different batters had multi-hit performances. Luke Trueman led the way, playing right field in this one while collecting three hits, three RBI and two runs scored.
The IUP series brought trouble for The Rock. They went 1-3 in the four-game set, salvaging the third game at IUP’s Dougherty field.
That game saw the team’s ace, Trueman, collected a win while both Braden Olson and Joey Purcell had multi-hit days. Five different players scored a run.
Trueman and Alex Robenolt were able to achieve multi-hit performances in the series as well.
The game at home against Ashland brought a needed win to the squad as they beat the Eagles 9-4.
True freshman Nate Malak started the game and struck out five through four and one-third innings, allowing no runs up until the fifth inning where four runs came in on a double and a home run. Norris collected another win in this one, followed by Robert Herr to finish it off.
Robenolt and Herr both had three hits and Joey Purcell also reached base three times. Four hitters had multiple RBI for SRU.
The momentum was not enough leading into the Cal U series as The White and Green fell in their first two games.
Even with the losses, Braden Olson, Koby Bubash, Noah Ross and Joseph Ehland all accrued two hits in a game during the doubleheader.
Despite a respectable 13-12 overall record they have gone 2-8 in PSAC play, which would almost certainly not be good enough to earn a PSAC tournament berth. Last year, the lowest winning percentage to qualify for PSAC playoffs was California University (Pa.) with .571. The Rock currently sits at .200.
The good news is that there is plenty of time left as SRU has not even played half of their conference games yet. With 18 in-conference matchups left, it might only take a hot streak or two to be right back in the middle of the competition.