The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Rock pitching proves hard to beat

A gander at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West division awards released Tuesday gives an accurate account of the Gannon University baseball team’s weekend.

And it wasn’t a pleasant one.

After dropping three out of four games against PSAC West-leading Slippery Rock University, including a 19-1 manhandling Sunday, two Rock players were given player of the week honors. Outfielder Carter Haponski earned player of the week while Zach Jeney took home the co-pitcher of the week award.

Although the weekend ended in forgettable fashion, the Knights went par for the course Saturday by splitting the doubleheader with Slippery Rock.

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Senior pitcher David Huskco went toe-to-toe with Jeney through seven innings as both tossed complete games. It was Jeney, however, who received enough run support in the 3-0 victory as Gannon was able to muster only two hits.

“I thought we played well,” Coach Nate Cocolin said. “The only thing that bothered me about the first game was that we struck out 13 times. We have to compete better than that.”

Gannon has struck out 127 times in PSAC play this season – 49 more times than second-place Kutztown University.

The 12-18 Knights faired better in the night cap of the home doubleheader as they were able to defeat one of the PSAC’s best pitchers, Lee Trivino, in a 4-3 contest. Trivino’s 2.36 ERA is sixth best in the PSAC.

The Gannon offense provided an outlier to a weekend that saw the Knights manage only a measly .216 batting average by responding to each Slippery Rock score with a run of their own.

Sophomore Michael Tomko’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning scored junior Tim Lipp to give the Knights their fourth victory of the season coming in the final at bat.

Lipp, who’s third on the Knights with a .290 batting average, added another to his team-lead in doubles by earning two bases to start the frame. 

The shortstop now has tallied nine double-baggers on the year.

“Tim is a gamer and a very good player,” said Cocolin, who is in his fourth season at the helm of the Knights. “He’s one of the guys that consistently step up. There are no ups and downs for Tim, you know what you get with him and it’s usually good.”

Tomko’s third sacrifice fly on the season quelled a one-man Slippery Rock offense as Haponski’s three hits and RBIs weren’t enough to push the Rock past Gannon. 

Haponski hit .727 in the weekend series. The all-purpose outfielder added two doubles and one triple.

After scrapping and clawing to earn a victory in Erie, the Knights headed to Slippery Rock Sunday hoping for an offensive explosion.

What they got, however, was an implosion.

The Rock hung 19 runs on Gannon in the Knights’ worst loss since a 22-3 defeat at the hands of Ashland University on April 20, 2008.

Junior pitcher Don Marchione surrendered 13 earned runs in only 3 2/3 innings after allowing both seven hits and walks

Marchione is now 1-3 on the season as the outing increased his ERA to 7.88 clip.

“It changes the whole culture of the game when you get that bad of a starting pitching performance,” Cocolin said. “It’s tough to continue to fight when you’re getting killed like that and it’s not getting better.”

Offensively, Gannon could do little to counteract the Rock’s landslide after a double-steal attempt failed and effectively eliminated any momentum the Knights had.

Gannon’s hitting, which has been its Achilles’ heel throughout the season, is now third-to-last in the conference with a .248 PSAC batting average.

The Knights, who were outscored 30-7 in their four game series with Slippery Rock,  has scored three runs or less in their past five games.

Gannon posted two goose eggs during the stretch.

“If one guy [hits], it’s not enough,” Cocolin said. “We’ve been tinkering with the lineup giving people chances to play.  I need nine guys that can compete in the batters box throughout a weekend.”

Although the Knights provided a better show in the final game of the series, a three-run inning would eventually doom their chances of splitting.

Junior Mark Carlozzi pitched three innings of one-run baseball prior to the Rock’s big inning.

Gannon’s disappointed weekend retreat did no favors for its playoff chances as the Knights now sit as the No. 6 team in the PSAC West postseason picture.

They are three games behind Indiana (Pa.) University for the last playoff spot.

“I know this group of guys wants it,” Cocolin said. “They understand that we have a chance to do something special and we’re close to finding out whether we’re there or not yet.”

Gannon will get a chance to improve on its postseason aspirations when it hosts PSAC West bottom-dwelling Clarion University Thursday and Friday.

The Knights are 6-2 against the Golden Eagles since entering the PSAC.

The series is a welcome sight to senior Kolten Hoffman as he struggled at the plate against Slippery Rock.

Last season, the infielder batted .357 against Clarion while contributing five runs and six RBIs. 

This series is given extra weight as the Knights will play Friday’s doubleheader at Jerry Uht Park at 1 p.m.

“Anybody that’s given a chance to play in a place as nice as that is going to be excited about it,” Cocolin said. “Hopefully they treat it like a home game.”

Just as long as they don’t treat it like a game at Slippery Rock.


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