The Rock baseball team (7-24) dropped two matches at home against Indiana University (Pa.) (13-16) Saturday, with the Crimson Hawks dominating game one 11-5 before winning a tight game two 11-10.
It was Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day at SRU’s Jack Critchfield Park as The Rock baseball team wore gold shoelaces, the official color of pediatric cancer awareness, while accepting donations for youth cancer research.
Despite the team’s struggles this season, Rock head coach Jeff Messer wants to keep an open mind about his team’s future.
“We are just trying to grow and maintain our position on the field,” Messer said. “We can beat anyone on any weekend and we can lose to anybody on any weekend based on the way we’ve been playing. The hardest thing this year has been keeping balance and we have not had any consistency. If our hitting is good then our pitching isn’t.”
The doubleheader featured 10 home runs hit between the two teams. Senior first baseman Alex Bell reached base streak to 18 games, going 2-3 with an RBI in game one and 3-4 in game two with two RBI’s and two runs scored. Bell also hit his seventh home run of the season.
Junior outfielder Ty Zimmerman also put in a big offensive performance for SRU in the two game set. Zimmerman had two hits in the first game with one run scored, followed by a three hit outing in game two with two RBI’s, including a home run.
Junior Carson Kessler, sophomore Tyler Walters and freshman Frankie Jezioro all hit home runs for SRU in game two. Walters now has 10 home runs on the season.
Sophomore Matt Gordon was the losing pitcher in game one for SRU but would only last 2.1 innings after allowing six runs on 10 hits. Sophomore Stephen McKee replaced Gordon in the third inning, staying on the mound for SRU for 4.1 innings. McKee allowed five runs on three hits and six walks before being substituted by freshman Wyatt Daugherty, who recorded the final out of the ball game.
“We just need our guys to buckle down and make better pitches in key situations,” Messer said. “Every game there is going to be two or three key situations that is going to dictate the rest of the game and we have just not been successful when those key situations have come up.”
Sophomore Shawn Holman received a no decision after starting game two for the Green and White. Holman tossed 4.1 innings while striking out a season-high seven batters, but gave up seven runs before being relieved by James Divosevic in the fifth inning. However, Divosevic failed to record an out in the inning and allowed two more IUP runs before Messer decided to sub him out in favor of junior Preston Falascino. Falascino pitched the final 2.2 but earned the loss after allowing two runs in the top of the seventh inning to seal the Crimson Hawk victory.
“It’s gotten to a point where if we get off to a good start then it’s going to be a good day, but if we get off to a bad start, especially individually, it’s going to be tough,” Messer said. “They just have to learn to poise their mental focus more than anything physical.”
SRU will hit the road Friday for the first two games of a four-game home-and-away series with California University (Pa.) (16-12). The Rock will host the last two games of the series on Saturday with first pitch set for 1 p.m. at Jack Critchfield Park.