Clarion University Baseball Splits with Slippery Rock, Runs Win Streak to Five Games
Clarion (12-19, 10-12 PSAC West) defeated The Rock 10-3 in the first game before falling 9-2 in the second.
With the win in the first game, Clarion reached the 10-win mark in the conference season for the first time in 16 years. The last time the Golden Eagles broke double-digits in divisional wins was during their PSAC West championship run in 2005, when they went 12-8. They have six games remaining on the schedule to match or top that total.
Anthony Tucci (1-1) took the bump for the Golden Eagles in the first game and was strong throughout, allowing one run in the bottom of the second before shutting The Rock down until the bottom of the seventh. Indeed, Nick Reynosa’s RBI single in the second inning was the only real trouble Tucci experienced until Slippery Rock scored two more runs off him in the seventh, with the game well in hand at that point. Joe Rossi recorded the final out of the game for the Golden Eagles, inducing a groundout from Luke Trueman to wrap the contest.
Tucci finished with his best pitching line of the season, throwing 6.2 innings and allowing three runs. The junior righty struck out seven Rock batters while issuing just one walk on the afternoon.
All that said, Slippery Rock did hold the lead early in the game until a number of defensive mishaps in the fifth inning tilted the momentum firmly in Clarion’s favor. Daren Byers took advantage of two errors – one to reach base and advance to second, and another to reach third base – before Tim Irons tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI single up the middle. The third error of the inning allowed Irons to advance to third base and score on Matt Privette’s fielder’s choice, with the latter also advancing to second.
That’s when the floodgates truly happened, as four straight Golden Eagles recorded hits to make it a 5-1 advantage. Alex Ficorilli added a base knock to score Privette, and Nick Fugh chopped a single through the pitcher’s mound to score Thomas Lavin and Ficorilli to make it 5-1. Kasey Shughart laid down a bunt that died right on the first base line, allowing him to reach on the infield hit, and the trio of Scott McManamon, Byers, and Irons all contributed RBI hits to make it an 8-1 lead through the top of the fifth. Fugh finished off the scoring in the top of the sixth, launching a two-run home run over the left-field wall to make it a 10-1 lead. The Rock scraped together a few runs in the bottom of the seventh inning but not enough to extend the game as Clarion rolled to the win.
Just as everything went right for the Golden Eagles in the first game, so the tables turned in the second. Slippery Rock poured on seven runs in the bottom of the second inning and tacked on two more in the fourth to open up a 9-0 advantage. Ficorilli responded with an RBI double in the fifth to score Irons, and McManamon tagged a solo home run – his first of the season, as well as the first of his college career – in the sixth. Dan Miller (0-1) was the pitcher of record, allowing five runs.
Submitted by Sean Fagan, Sports Information Director, Clarion University
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