Slippery Rock (14-5, 5-3 in the PSAC) was in Erie Monday to take on the Gannon Golden Knights (6-8, 4-4 in the PSAC) in doubleheader action. The Golden Knights would be looking to right their course and move back to .500, while The Rock was looking to stay hot and gain a leg up on their PSAC West competition.
Game one would take place early on the spring afternoon as Slippery Rock’s sophomore Luke Trueman would face off against Gannon’s Eric Sapp, who’d be looking to maintain a winning pitching record.
The home team would kick off the scoring by Brandon Wetherholt’s solo shot over the right field wall. Wetherholt stayed hot and would knock in another run the next time he came to the plate in the third, starting a rally that would see Gannon put up a six spot, taking a commanding 7-0 lead.
The Rock’s bats finally broke through in the top of the 4th as a Connor Hamilton single scored junior Jon Kozarian. Slippery Rock would go on to add another run in the inning by way of Vince Donato sac fly. Starter Eric Sapp quieted The Green and White as he would only allow two earned runs and strike out eight over his six innings of work. Sapp’s opposition, Trueman, would go on to take the loss; only two of the runs given up were earned over his three innings.
Slippery Rock would add a run on the error in the sixth putting them in striking distance, but their comeback effort would eventually fizzle out as they lost game one, 7-3.
Junior JT Wolke showed great command in three innings of relief, as he only allowed two hits and surrendered one walk.
Gannon pitcher’s stonewalled Slippery Rock throughout most of the day as Sapp earned his 3rd win and Benjamin Visnesky closed out the game in the 7th.
Kozarian’s double was the only extra-base hit on the day for the Rock, he had a 3-3 performance. Connor Hamilton also had a multi-hit day.
Wetherholt, Seth Sanders and Luke Callahan led Gannon to victory as they all produced multiple RBIs.
The Rock would send sophomore Christian Seelhorst out to the mound to face the Golden Knights’ Trey Thomas as it would look to split the day’s games.
Things got off on the right foot for SRU as it scored a pair of runs in the 3rd and 4th innings thanks to a Kozarian double and an Eddie Morris moonshot out to right that plated two.
Gannon would come storming back in the home half of the 5th, scoring five runs from a flurry of hits capped off by a Wetherholt double that gave the Golden Knights a slim one-run lead. The Rock would put a runner on in each of their last two at-bats, but they couldn’t bring them home to tie the game, losing by a final score of 5-4.
The Rock posted ten hits on the day, with multi-hit contributions from the top of the lineup including junior Abraham Mow, Kozarian and Hamilton. Freshman Eddie Morris continues to mash at the plate as he hit his 4th home run of the season.
Seelhorst went four innings on the day, not giving up an earned run until the 5th, he struck out seven on the day. Andy McClymonds came in relief of the starter and gave up one run over his two full innings of work.
Trey Thomas earned his first victory on the year for the Golden Knights thanks to his five innings of four-run work. Marshall Murray would come in and earn the save.
After a two-game sweep at Gannon the previous day, Slippery Rock was hoping that a trip home would energize them and allow them to earn the series split in Tuesday’s doubleheader.
The Rock would trot sophomore Ricky Mineo out to the mound to face off against Gannon’s Jacob Visha in game one. Mineo was carrying an ERA hovering around 2.00 at the start of this game and would look to stay hot.
Gannon’s Kieran Gagnon would kick off what would be a back-and-forth game in the 2nd with an RBI double. Rock shortstop Anthony Cinicola tied the game in the second and Kozarian would go on to knock him and Nick Reynosa in with a single, putting Slippery Rock up 3-1.
The Golden Knights inched closer in the 3rd as an Ian Hess double left the game at 3-2. Continuing the trend, Slippery Rock’s Mow took matters into his own hand and skied a ball over the left field wall. Gannon’s Wetherholt responded in the next half inning with a home run of his own, plating two and knotting the game up at four.
The home half of the 5th would see Kozarian single to right and bring in what would go on to be the game’s winning run as the Rock’s McClymonds remained stout in relief. Slippery Rock was halfway to their goal on the day, taking game one 5-4 over Gannon.
McClymonds earned the win for the Rock thanks to his 3 innings of shutout relief work. Mineo scattered four runs over four innings and struck out five on the day.
The bats stayed hot for Slippery Rock as they posted another double digit hit performance. Kozarian led the way again posting two hits and three RBIs. Mow hit his third homer of the season.
Wetherhold had a 3-3 effort for Gannon that included a home run. Kieran Gagnon and Ian Hess also posted multi-hit performances.
Slippery Rock would look to sweep the day’s action as senior Andrew Shivak would take on Gannon’s Kevin Schott.
The Golden Knights would put The Rock down quickly with a pair of RBI singles in the first inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Kozarian would continue to tear the cover off the baseball by knocking a home run over the left field wall. The Rock would add a pair of runs in the 2nd inning with RBI hits from junior Joel Spishock and Kozarian.
A solo shot in the top half of the third would bring the game back to a tie at three. After a quiet 4th inning, Kozarian would step to the plate and crush another home run, again over the left field wall. Slippery Rock’s narrow one-run lead would prove to be enough as Wolke kept the Golden Knights off of the board over the last two innings.
The player of the game was Kozarian, as each of his three hits produced an RBI, including his two homers. Sophmore Alex Robenolt would also go on to produce three hits for the Rock.
After a quick exit in the first from starter Andrew Shivak, Wolke came in and quieted the game down with his command, going 6.2 innings, surrendering no walks, striking out six and only allowing one earned run. He earned his second win on the season.
Gannon’s Ian Hess provided two RBIs on his two hits, he was the only Golden Knight to have multiple hits.
Slippery Rock completed the four-game split with Gannon with each team winning their home games.
The Rock’s upcoming four-game weekend series against Seton Hill has been postponed. The team will be in action at home next Friday as they take on Clarion in a two home, two away series.