Baseball has up-and-down start, begins 4-4 in the PSAC


Gannon University pitcher Eric Sapp had eight strikeouts in a 7-3 win over Slippery Rock Monday.

Alex Pepke, Sports Editor

The Gannon University baseball team has begun its season 6-8 and is coming off a four-game split with Slippery Rock Monday and Tuesday.

Prior to Slippery Rock, Gannon split four games with No. 23 Mercyhurst March 26-27.

The Knights began their season on March 7 when they split a doubleheader with Notre Dame (Ohio) followed by a 4-2 victory against Lake Erie the next day.

After a 2-1 start, Gannon dropped its next three games, one to Chestnut Hill and two to Davenport. These three games gave Gannon an early wake-up call, as the Knights were outscored 45-17 in those three games combined.

In the first of the four games against No. 23 Mercyhurst, Gannon upset the Lakers 3-0. The offense didn’t have to do much, as Deven Judy shut down Mercyhurst, striking out 12 batters in a complete-game shutout.

It was the fourth shutout of Judy’s career at Gannon, and the 12 strikeouts catapulted him up to third place all-time for Gannon with 201.

Gannon would go on to win the second game 6-5 on March 26, upsetting the nationally ranked Lakers in back-to-back games.

Gannon coach Greg Coleman acknowledged the difference in his team’s efforts compared to its earlier games.

“The difference today versus what we had early on is we got two outstanding starting performances,” Coleman said. “We also put together some runs offensively and came up with some big, timely hits.”

Mercyhurst bounced back a day later, this time taking both games of a doubleheader against the Knights.

Gannon’s next action was not until Monday, when the Knights took on Slippery Rock for two games at home. Gannon won the first game 7-3 and the second game 5-4.

Eric Sapp was able to control Slippery Rock’s hitters in game one, striking out eight over six innings. Tre Thomas started game two, throwing five strong innings.

Gannon was led at the plate by Brandon Wetherholt, who had a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored over the two games.

The two teams faced off for another doubleheader Tuesday, this time at Slippery Rock. Gannon fell in game one 5-4.

The Knights found themselves on the wrong side of another close one in game two, losing 4-3. After a two-run first inning, Gannon could not do much else.

Wetherholt was able to stay hot with another home run in game one, his third of the year. He has been Gannon’s best hitter this year, leading the team in at-bats (46), runs (12), hits (16), home runs (3) and RBIs (10).

“I’m just trying to stay relaxed up there and trust my teammates to get the job done after me,” Wetherholt said. “I’m really fortunate to have a guy like Ian Hess hitting behind me because most teams can’t pitch around me.”

Judy, Gannon’s ace, knows the start to the season was not perfect, but he thinks things are starting to click for the Knights.

“We started out rough in our first couple games, but as everyone is starting to get comfortable, we’ve started to look more like the team that won the conference last year,” Judy said. “I think the biggest thing for us is to learn to keep the foot on the gas going into the second games of doubleheaders.”

A 6-8 record is not very encouraging, but a 4-4 record in the PSAC keeps Gannon’s playoff hopes alive and well with 20 conference games remaining. Its next game will be Friday when it takes on Clarion for a doubleheader.

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