Rock wins three at Cary Challenge

SRU baseball starts the 2024 season off hot

Published by Aidan Treu, Date: March 6, 2024
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Rock baseball won three of their four games at the Cary Challenge in Cary, N.C. this past weekend.

After a pair of walk-off wins over Dominican University (N.Y.) in their season-opening doubleheader, the White and Green carried momentum into their next set of games.

SRU opened the Cary Challenge with a Friday doubleheader against Pace University, taking home both games 3-2, with the latter going all the way to 12 innings.

Saturday and Sunday both brought one game apiece, an 11-0 thrashing of Dominican University followed by a 10-0 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas College.

Hunter Loomis and Parker Hogge pitched for The Rock in their first game against Pace, compiling similar statlines.

Loomis started and threw 3.2 innings of one-run ball with two strikeouts. His five walks will likely need improvement, but the early-season rust may be to blame.

Hogge then took the mound for 3.1 innings and struck out three, earning the win.

Second baseman Koby Bubash had three hits and an RBI in the contest while left fielder Gage Gillott had one hit, a first-inning two-run triple.

Pace took the lead in the top of the first and the top of the seventh, but The Rock immediately struck back both times. Bubash’s walk-off was SRU’s third in three games up to that point.

The White and Green’s schedule is the only thing that got in the way of four straight walk-offs. However, one final-inning run still meant the demise of Pace in The Rock’s fourth straight win up to that point.

In their second game against Pace, Cam Panyko Morris brought the heroics. His 12th-inning single, followed by Michael Kitko tossing his third straight shutout frame, ended the game.

Ethan Edkins and Mark Wilbur Jr. combined for the other nine innings pitched. Edkins allowed two runs but struck out six in his five innings while Wilbur Jr. allowed no runs and struck out three.

Shortstop Tyler Cerame and first baseman Darryn Callahan brought home the other two runs, each with one hit to their name.

SRU maintained perfection in the next game by besting Dominican University for the third time this season in their lone matchup at the Cary Challenge.

The Rock put up 11 runs and allowed none. Gillott struck out seven over six innings of shutout ball and earned the win. The righty was followed by Robert Herr who struck out two over his three innings. Herr also earned a save with just about the largest cushion you will ever see because the reliever threw three innings, qualifying him.

Five Rock players had multiple hits. Kitko led the way with three, including a double and two RBI. Panyko Morris had a triple, a single and two RBI. Brett Galcik had three RBI, with two coming on a double and the final one coming by way of a bases-loaded walk.

The White and Green ran out of gas against St. Thomas Aquinas, only tallying four hits. SRU third baseman Brandon Butler had three hits in four trips to the plate.

Joey Purcell took the loss but finished with a respectable statline and kept his squad in the game for a while. The right-handed pitcher struck out nine across seven innings, allowing three earned runs. The Spartans only led by one run until the sixth inning.

The end of the weekend may have left a bitter taste, but a 5-1 start with over five runs per game through six games is far from disappointing.

Rock baseball hits the field again at Jack Critchfield Park this Saturday against West Virginia State University. They will finish the three-game home series against the Yellowjackets on Sunday at noon.

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