Falcons fall in series finale to Point Park Pioneers
PITTSBURGH -- The Point Park University baseball team beat visiting Fisher College, 11-1, on Saturday to finish off a three-game sweep of the American Mideast Conference series and also reached the 40-win mark for the first time since 1998.
Point Park (40-7, 11-0 AMC) beat Fisher (20-26, 4-7 AMC) by a combined score off 26-3 in the weekend sweep. Game two on Saturday was rained out and will not be made up. The game that was played on Saturday ended after five innings due to rain and field conditions.
Point Park, ranked No. 9 in the NAIA Baseball Top 25 Poll this week, is one of just five teams in the country with at least 40 wins. Point Park has the second-best winning percentage in the NAIA and has 40 wins for the seventh time in the 45-year history of the program.
The Pioneers scored six times in the third inning Saturday to stretch their lead to 9-1. Fisher committed three of its six errors that inning as Point Park sent 12 batters to the plate.
Point Park had just five hits in the victory, but it was patient at the plate in drawing nine walks and two hit batters. With the extra base runners, Point Park took advantage with a few key hits along the way.
The game was played in a steady rain at Green Tree Park. The Fisher pitchers and fielders had trouble getting a grip on the ball, but winning pitcher Nate Spohn (6-0) and his errorless defense did fine with the conditions.
Spohn, a freshman left-hander from Greensburg, Pa., remained unbeaten and lowered his ERA to 2.86 by giving up just one run on two hits in a five-inning complete game. His fourth complete game in eight starts included five strikeouts and two walks.
Point Park's Tom Pasinski, who was 1 for 3 with an RBI and two runs, knocked in a run in the three-run second inning, and two other runs scored on errors.
In the third, Lee Bodnar's leadoff double was followed by three consecutive infield errors, which were followed by three straight walks. Don McDuffee and Dillon Sauers drew walks to force in a couple of runs, as did Tom Birko's sacrifice fly. Rob Novia was then hit by a pitch to reload the bases for Bodnar's bases-loaded walk.
The Pioneers reached double digits on the scoreboard by scoring single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. A hit batter and a walk in the fifth set the scene for Birko's RBI single. One inning later, an error an a walk set up Mike Ganley's bloop base hit that brought home a run.
Birko finished 1 for 3 with two RBIs while Bodnar was 1 for 1 with a double, a run, an RBI and two walks. Scoring two runs each were Marlon Leyva, Steve Dujka, Pasinski, McDuffee and pinch runner Phil Navatsyk.
At 11-0 AMC, Point Park has finished off a perfect record in conference play. The game that was rained out with Fisher will not be made up because only 75 percent of the AMC schedule needs to be completed, and that game does not affect postseason.
Both Point Park and Fisher will be headed to the Unaffiliated Group (AMC/KIAC/GCAC) Tournament May 1-4 in Kinston, N.C., as the representatives from the AMC. Three conferences that each fall short of the required six teams for an automatic NAIA bid will each send their top two teams to the event with the winner of the six-team, double-elimination tourney qualifiying for nationals.
The first stage of the national tournament is the NAIA Opening Round May 10-14 at campus sites around the country. The NAIA World Series is May 25-June 1 in Lewiston, Idaho.