Huskies break out brooms again, sweep Slippery Rock: Baseball beats The Rock 12-5, 8-4, improves to 23-7 on the season

By Evin Hartsock, Managing Editor

       After sweeping Slippery Rock in back-to-back games on Wednesday night, the Bloomsburg University baseball team improved to 23-7 on the season, maintaining their first-place spot in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division standings.

     The wins over Slippery Rock extended the Huskies’ winning-streak to six games and improved their conference record to 15-3 and their home record to 9-1.

     Bloomsburg handled Slippery Rock easily in Game 1 of the doubleheader at Danny Litwhiler Field, posting a 12-5 victory. After Slippery Rock scored early in the first inning, the Huskies responded with five runs of their own to take the lead. Kyle OFier would spark the Huskies offense in the first inning with a three-run home run that opened up the flood gates. Bloomsburg would keep their foot on the gas and continued to lead for the rest of the game.

     Slippery Rock kept things closer in Game 2, but eventually fell to the Huskies by a final of 8-4.

      Redshirt sophomore James Reardon IV got the start on the mound for Bloomsburg, but quickly exited the game after a rough first inning. After walking The Rock’s Abraham Mow and Ray Scala, Reardon gave up a shot to center field to Joe Campagna that brought in both Mow and Scala. In the next at-bat, Slippery Rock’s Luca Fuscardo singled up the middle, sending Campagna home and giving The Rock a 3-0 lead.
Senior Mike Warren entered the game to relieve Reardon and got the final out to close the inning.

     Slippery Rock’s lead would not last long, as BU’s Cole Swiger drew a walk and stole second to get the Huskies’ offense going in the bottom of the first. After Austin Edgette flew out to the infield, catcher Ryan Shiffer reached first on a throwing error and Swiger reached third base to put the Huskies in position to respond to The Rock’s runs. Freshman Ben Newbert stepped up to the plate and hit a single with two strikes to send Swiger home and advance Shiffer to second. Sophomore outfielder Andrew Holmes drew a walk in the next at-bat before Chad Cooperman struck out.
With two outs and two on, OFier doubled to left center, sending Holmes, Newbert, and Shiffer home to take a 4-3 lead.

     After holding Slippery Rock scoreless in the top of the second, the Huskies would add to their lead in the bottom half of the inning as Edgette singled up the middle to send Swiger home. Newbert would then pick up his second RBI of the day as he singled to left field to send Edgette home and extend Bloomsburg’s lead to 6-3.

     Warren held Slippery Rock scoreless again in the third and the Huskies would again add to their lead in the bottom of the inning. After hitting a single to right field, stealing second, and reaching third on a wild pitch, OFier was sent home as Swiger doubled down the third base line to extend the lead to 7-3.

     In the top of the fourth, redshirt sophomore Mark Bobko took the mound in relief of Warren. Warren would finish the day with two scoreless innings and a strikeout.

     Bobko gave up a run as he walked Mow with bases loaded, and after his brief appearance was pulled as Ashton Raines entered the game to try to get BU out of the jam. Raines would force a ground ball into a double play and get a strike out to end the inning.

     In the fourth inning, Newbert would add another run to pad the Huskies’ lead as he hit a solo home run to left field, BU’s only run of the inning.
Raines went on to strike out one batter in the top of the fifth before junior right-hander Jeremy Zezza came out in relief. Zezza forced a ground out and struck out one to close out the inning.

     Both teams would go scoreless for the remainder of the game as BU’s Trey Hinkle entered the game on the mound in the top of the seventh to pick up the save.

     The Huskies have relied on a high-powered offense to win games as they are currently averaging 9.5 runs-per-game during their six-game win streak. Their highest run total of the season came on Apr. 13 when they defeated Mansfield by a score of 16-4.

     The long ball has also been a big part of BU’s success as the team has combined for 11 home runs in the last six games, one of which was a walk-off grand slam from Cole Swiger in extra innings to defeat Mansfield 10-6 on Apr. 14

     The Huskies take their high-scoring offense on the road on Friday, Apr. 20 to face division-rival Lock Haven University in a doubleheader. The two teams will then play another doubleheader in Bloomsburg on Saturday, Apr. 21 at 1:00 pm.

    Lock Haven currently sits at 18-11 overall and 8-8 in the PSAC East, trailing the Huskies by five games for first place.