Falk Ties Single-Season Home Run Mark While Extending Hitting Streak to 14, But Clarion U. Baseball Falls Twice at SRU

Falk3SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Tyler Falk continued to rewrite the Clarion record books Saturday, but the Golden Eagle bullpen faltered twice while being swept in a PSAC West doubleheader at Slippery Rock Saturday.

Falk extended his hitting streak to 14 games, tied for the second-longest hit streak at Clarion since 2000 by going 2-for-5 with two RBIs in a 9-8, 10-inning loss in game one and 2-for-4 with four RBIS including a fifth-inning grand slam in a 10-6 game-two defeat. The bases-clearing bomb in game two was his seventh of the year tying him with Matt Rossi (2012), Ken Morgan (2010) and Kevin Gledhill (2003) for the most home runs in a single season in school history. He is just one game back of Tony Petulla for the longest hit streak by a Golden Eagle since 2000. Petulla hit in 15 straight contests in 2000.

9041But despite Falk and the offense as a whole having a strong Saturday, Clarion’s pitching couldn’t match the success surrendering a five-run eighth-inning lead in the game-one loss and then giving up four runs in the bottom of the fifth in game two after the Golden Eagles, thanks in large part to Falk’s grand slam, had rallied from five down to tie the game at six.

Things were looking good late for Clarion in game one after the Golden Eagles rallied from a 3-1 deficit entering the seventh inning to force extra innings thanks to a two-run, one-out single by Falk that came immediately following a strong at bat from Jordan Mesoraco, who battled his way through a long at bat before doubling to center.

Clarion then continued the momentum in the top of the eight scoring five more times thanks in large part to three throwing errors by Slippery Rock pitcher Zac Anderson to go ahead 8-3.

But Kyle Armagost, who entered the game in the sixth in relief of Tyler Delval, couldn’t hold the lead giving up five runs in the bottom of the inning, four of which were unearned thanks to an error by shortstop Joey Lopez, allowing Slippery Rock to tie the game at eight.

The Rock then looked like it was going to win the game in the bottom of the ninth when it loaded the bases against Sean White with the middle of the order coming up. But White struck out the red-hot Adam Urbania before getting Alex Bell to pop out and Logan Brown to ground out to escape the jam.

White, though, wasn’t so lucky in the 10th. After recording the first two outs of the inning without incident, he gave up a single, then walked a man before Jake Nogalo won the game for Slippery Rock with a base hit to right.

Clarion’s first run of the game, which tied the contest at one in the fourth, came on a one-out double to center by Josh Ponsoll scoring Mike Lockhart. Slippery Rock retook the lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth then added a tally in the fifth to go ahead 3-1.

Falk was one of five Golden Eagles to have two hits in game one. Drew Pirritano was 2-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI. Mesoraco was 2-for-3, Derek Danver, who extended his own hitting streak to eight games with base knocks in both contests, was 2-for-5 and Ponsoll was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and a run scored.

Delval pitched well giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks in 5.1 innings of a work while striking out one. Armagost gave up the five runs, one earned, on four hits, four walks and a hit batter in 2.2 innings of work and White allowed the one run on three hits, two walks and a hit batter while striking out one and throwing 62 pitches in 1.2 innings of work.

Game two saw Clarion jump ahead 1-0 in the first when Mesoraco doubled home Pirritano.

Slippery Rock answered with a run off of White, who came right back and made the start in the second game, in the bottom of the first then tagged the right-hander for three more in the second and two in the third to go up 6-1. That ended White’s day. He pitched three inning in the second game giving up six runs, three earned, on five hits, a walk and two hit batters.

Clarion rallied in the fifth.

With one out, Austin Mike walked, went to second on a Pirritano single and to third when Mesoraco drew a walk. Falk then hit the grand slam to left to bring the Golden Eagles back within a run.

One out later, Delval and Lockhart each singled before Ponsoll tied the game with an RBI single up the middle.

Troy Kumar, though, was charged with four runs in the bottom of the inning, and finished with a line that saw him go three innings giving up four runs on three hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out one.

Pirritano, Delval and Lockhart were each 3-for-4 for Clarion with Pirritano scoring two runs and Delval one. Ponsoll added a 2-for-4 performance with the RBI.

Clarion is now 7-24 overall and 5-19 in the PSAC West, while Slippery Rock improves to 24-15 and 14-10 in conference play.

The Golden Eagles return to action with a non-conference game Tuesday when they host Lock Haven.

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