The Rock baseball team extended their winning streak to eight games after a four-game sweep of Fairmont State University on Saturday and Sunday at Jack Critchfield Park.
Coach Jeff Messer commented on Slippery Rock’s eight-game winning streak, the longest winning streak the Rock has experienced since early April of 2006.
“Keys to our present success have been the ability of our starting pitchers to go deep in the game, and the improvement in our team defense,” Messer said.
On Saturday the Rock began their four-game home stand where Zach Jeney, one of the Rock’s top pitchers, threw a complete game with 12 strikeouts.
Jeney allowed one run in the fifth inning after the only batter he walked, stole second and scored from third on a two out hit.
The RBI single for Fairmont State was only one of two hits given up by Jeney in the entire game. Slippery Rock responded in the sixth inning with a two out, bases loaded single by shortstop Will Kengor, which drove in the game tying run along with the go-ahead run to put Slippery Rock on top 2 to 1.
In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, freshman pitcher Garret Peterson, had Slippery Rock’s second complete game, two hitter of the day. Peterson only allowed one run to cross the plate in the first inning, and finished the final six innings with six strikeouts.
The Green and White were able to score ten runs on eight hits and won the game 10 to 1. Leading the way offensively for Slippery Rock were first baseman John Shaffer and right fielder Brandon Myers, who hit his third home run of the season on a two-run shot over the right field wall.
Myers had three hits and three runs scored on top of his two RBIs while Shaffer drove in three RBIs on two hits to account for six of Slippery Rock’s ten runs.
Coach Messer said, “Offensively, we’re continuing to work on getting our pitch and squaring up on the ball when we do.”
The next two games brought Slippery Rock’s overall record to 18-17, the first time the Rock has had a winning record since their first two games of the season against Ohio Valley University on February 18.
The Rock brought their record to .500 with another solid pitching performance from Lou Trivino, who went six innings and struck out nine Fairmont State batters.
After giving up two runs in the third inning, Slippery Rock took the lead in the bottom of the inning with three runs on two Fairmont State errors and a sacrifice fly from Shaffer. The Rock scored one more run in the fourth inning and John Kovalik came in relief of Trivino in the seventh inning to earn the save.
Trivino improved to 6 and 2 with the victory and Kovalik earned his third save of the season.
In the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader Slippery Rock went up 6 to 1 in the second inning and held on for the win 7 to 3.
Kengor led the way offensively for the Green and White with a bases-clearing triple in the second inning. Shaffer and Jamison Walck accounted for the other Rock RBIs.
Kyle Schneider earned the victory with a three strikeout performance over five innings in which he allowed three runs on seven hits. Joby Lapkowicz came in and pitched two relief innings to earn his first save of the season. Lapkowicz struck out four of the eight batters he faced, with no hits and two walks allowed.
The Rock looks to extend their winning streak farther this weekend when they face off against PSAC rival Mercyhurst.
“Every weekend has playoff implications, including this weekend series with Mercyhurst,” Messer said. “With Mercyhurst’s outstanding pitching, it’s essential we maximize our offensive opportunities.”
Currently Slippery Rock has a six and six conference record and 12 PSAC games remaining on their schedule.
“We must continue to get better offensively if we’re going to challenge for post season honors,” Messer said.
It will be a battle of the pitching staffs this weekend as the Rock starts their weekend series with Mercyhurst on Friday, April 13 at Jack Critchfield Park and finishes the four-game series on the road in Erie on Saturday, April 14.