Trueman throws complete game, scores winning run as SRU splits with UPJ
May 6—SLIPPERY ROCK — On Friday morning, Luke Trueman prepared for his final game as a member of the Slippery Rock baseball team.
He spent his final pregame playing catch with his father before he took the mound for The Rock. Trueman pitched a complete game in the opener as SRU split a doubleheader with Pitt-Johnstown Friday at Jack Critchfield Park.
The Rock won the first game 2-1 but fell in the season finale 6-0. Both games ended in the eighth inning.
"I got to play catch with my dad before the game, and I knew it was gonna be a good day," Trueman said. "I haven't played catch with him in years. My last game, to warm up with him, that's all I needed."
Slippery Rock (23-27, 8-20 PSAC West) struck first in the opener.
Joseph Ehland drew a leadoff walk and stole second base in the bottom of the first inning. Trueman drove in Ehland on a one-out double to left field to open the scoring.
However, the lead didn't last long. Asher Corl led off the second inning with a double down the left-field line. Trueman got two outs, but he was unable to escape unscathed as Garrett Prosper doubled to right field to tie the game at 1.
The Rock broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth. Trueman reached on a bloop double to left field. Joe Purcell eventually hit a sacrifice fly to right field. The throw was off line, and Trueman scored easily.
Trueman (7-3) put together a solid outing in his final collegiate start. The senior allowed one run on five hits with three walks with four strikeouts. He only needed 95 pitches to get through eight innings.
Trueman also finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Alex Robenolt, Colin Cain and Robby Barrientos all recorded singles, and Braden Olsen doubled for The Rock.
Luke Schrock (0-1) took the loss in the opener. The Pitt-Johnstown senior surrendered one run on a pair of hits and a walk while striking out two in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
Game 2 saw a pitchers' duel between The Rock and the Mountain Cats.
Freshmen Nate Malak and Michael Kitko pitched seven scoreless innings. Malak pitched five scoreless innings of two-hit ball in the start.
Kitko (1-1) took the loss after he allowed four runs in the eighth inning. He gave up three hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Senior Tanner Esposito got the final out of the inning but he allowed two runs on three hits.
Ben Tomb pitched six innings of scoreless ball. The lefty allowed two hits and two walks as he kept The Rock offense from supporting Malak and Kitko. Alec Petroff (2-0) earned the win with two innings of one-hit ball.
"We didn't score a lot of runs. We had our opportunities," Slippery Rock head coach Jeff Messer said. "Trueman had a fabulous year for us, but for the last two weeks, we probably had five or six RBIs from our top guys. It's really hard to win that way, but they fought and scraped. That's all you can ask."
Jon Kozarian and Robenolt singled for The Rock, and Olsen doubled. That was all SRU could produce offensively.
Josh Reynolds hit a grand slam for the Mountain Cats, and Dylan Broderick hit a two-run homer.
In the eighth, Alex Glumac singled with one out, and Broderick followed with a home run over the right-field wall for a 2-0 UPJ lead. Later in the inning, Josh Ulery reached via a fielder's choice, Corl walked and Devon Boyles reached on an infield single. Reynolds cleared the bases by sending the ball just beyond the right-field wall.
Trueman was one of seven seniors that played their last college game on Friday. It wasn't the way any of them wanted to end their careers, but after the game Messer talked to his players about the importance of the connections made through their passion for baseball.
"You can talk wins and losses, but at the end of the day, this team brought friendships that will last a lifetime," Trueman said. "There's nothing really better than that, to bond over baseball. To have something like this, it'll carry with us for the rest of our lives."