Slippery Rock able to extend season
Shaffer delivers game-winning single in bottom of ninth inning
BUTLER, Pa. -- John Shaffer singled home the winning run with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday morning as Slippery Rock extended its season for at least one more day with a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory against Gannon in an elimination game of the PSAC tournament at Pullman Park.
Shaffer's game-winning hit culminated a contest in which 12 hits were recorded but no earned runs were scored.
Gannon scored the first run of the game in the top of the third inning after Rock third baseman Lee Foxton was unable to cleanly field a slow roller. A passed ball and an RBI single by Tim Lipp turned that opportunity into a tally on the scoreboard.
The Golden Knights extended their lead to 2-0 with a run in the top of the sixth that came as a result of a one-out walk, a wild pickoff throw by Lou Trivino and a groundout.
Undaunted, The Rock came back to score two runs in the bottom of the sixth, aided by two Gannon errors. Kevin Jovanovich started the rally with a one-out single to left-center field and moved to second base when a pitch hit Matt Accardi.
After a fielder's choice put Rock runners on first and third bases with two outs, SRU got its first run on a bobbled ground ball up the middle off the bat of Carter Haponski.
A walk to Matt Curtis loaded the bases with two outs and set the stage for the second Rock run, which scored when Gannon catcher Nico Baldelli threw wildly while trying to pick Curtis off first base.
Both teams had a runner on second base with two outs in the seventh inning but left them stranded and neither team mounted any kind of threat in the eighth inning.
Rock relief pitcher Ryan Oglesby then retired Gannon in order in the top of the ninth to put his team in position to win the game in the final half inning of regulation play.
And a wild final half inning it was.
Curtis led off the bottom of the ninth by striking out swinging, but reached base when Baldelli was unable to handle the third strike and make an accurate throw to first base.
A wild pitch moved Curtis to second base, where he ultimately would have wound up anyway since the next batter, Derek Carr, earned a base on balls.
Foxton, after attempting twice to lay down a sacrifice bunt, was hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count to load the bases with no one out.
Shaffer then ended the suspense quickly as he smashed the first pitch from Gannon relief pitcher Landon Wahl well over the head of Golden Knights left fielder Dylan Schwegler, who was stationed at medium depth in hopes to being able to throw the runner out at home on a short fly ball.
The game-winning shot was Shaffer's second hit of the game. He was the only player to have more than one hit in The Rock's seven-hit attack. Will Kengor had a two-out double in the seventh to round out The Rock's offensive highlights.
Trivino, a sophomore right-hander and first-team All-PSAC-Western Division selection this spring, pitched the first 7.1 innings in pursuit of his ninth win of the season (8-3 record), but wound up getting a no-decision.
The PSAC leader in earned run average (1.97) and one of the top strikeout artists in the conference, Trivino was true to form as he allowed two unearned runs on five hits, while striking out eight and walking five.
With the eight strikeouts, Trivino, who has pitched a team-high 76 innings this spring, moved into a tie with Craig Petulla (1999) for fifth place on SRU's single-season punch-out list with 68.
Oglesby, an All-PSAC-West selection in 2011 who missed most of this season due to an arm injury, picked up the win and evened his season record at 1-1. He struck out two and induced three groundouts in 1.2 scoreless and hitless innings of work.