In a season increasingly-effected by inclement weather, The Slippery Rock baseball team had its’ four-game tilt against Clarion moved to Butler, thanks to Kelly Automotive park having a turf field. Even then, snow caused the four-game series to be broken up between Friday and Monday, with each day holding two SRU wins.
Action started Friday with an impressive SRU record being broken. Lou Trivino, an Oakland A’s prospect expecting to be called up this year, has held the SRU career strikeout record ever since his departure from The Rock in 2011. As of the first inning on Friday, that record now belongs to Rock senior starter Alex Pantuso. That strikeout was Pantuso’s 218th of his career, and he wasn’t even getting started as he fanned another 13 Clarion batters along the way to a six inning, two run start for The Rock.
With starting pitching like that, The Rock offense didn’t need to do much, but senior left fielder Luca Fuscardo turned in an impressive day, ripping an RBI single and an RBI double to drive in three runs on the day. Junior Shortstop Joey Campagna also earned an RBI by walking with the bases loaded and senior second baseman Mitchell Wood also added an RBI single.
Leading 5-2, junior closer Wyat Daughterty did what he does best–provided a clean inning to shut the door en route to a game one win.
Game two was much of the same and an even more dominating performance from The Rock. Senior starter Matt Gordon was nearly un-hittable, allowing only four baserunners in a scoreless six-inning start. Senior reliever Andrew Null finished the game with two strikeouts in his one inning pitched.
Fuscardo again had an excellent day, driving in two more runs. Freshman third baseman Abraham Mow and senior catcher Christian Porterfield both drove in three runs and hit doubles. Sophomore first baseman Tyler Merigliano had a perfect day at the plate, going 3-3 and driving in two runs. Thanks to a rare game of rest at shortstop for Campagna, junior infielder Ray Scala got the chance to shine, knocking an RBI double and stealing a base to cap off another Rock victory.
Fast forward three days and several inches of snow, SRU’s series was resumed again at Kelly Automotive on Monday evening.
The first six innings flew by for SRU with an outstanding start from Junior Chris Anastas. Anastas, who holds a 2.82 ERA on the season, threw six innings of no-run baseball, striking out nine in the process.
Slippery Rock’s eight RBI’s were split between six players, with Wood and senior centerfielder Kyle Wise both knocking in two runs apiece. Mow, Campagna, junior right fielder Frankie Jezioro and senior third baseman Matt Mandes all tallied one RBI.
The bottom of the seventh was an adventure for The Rock, with Null being the first pitcher attempting to close out the game, but only recording one out while giving up four runs. Junior Alex Worthington was next up, recording one out and giving up a run to allow Clarion to pull within two runs. Junior Tanner Stanz was finally able to close the door on the Eagles, however, earning his first save of the year.
The final game of the tilt looked like it might be a shortened game after SRU went up 7-0 in the fourth inning, thanks to a first-and-third play where Mow scored the first run of the game, followed by an RBI single from Porterfield. Merigliano and Wise then both brought home two runs each and senior catcher Tyler Walters bringing in the seventh run with a sacrifice fly.
Trouble came in the fifth inning when senior starter Ryan Tapp allowed four runs after four innings of spotless pitching. Tapp was then pulled with two outs in the fifth, leaving his final line at 4.2 innings pitched with four earned runs and nine strikeouts.
Daugherty again saved the day, pitching seven perfect outs, four of which were strikeouts, en route to another appearance without a blemish.
Wise and Mow added insurance runs in the sixth inning with each belting a solo homer to add comfortability for Daugherty.
The four-game sweep pushes SRU’s record to 13-7 (6-2 in the PSAC) and they will now look forward to a four-game tilt against Pitt-Johnstown this weekend, weather permitting.