High Expectations – Croup’s Corner

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

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Expect a lot from the Point Park baseball team this year.

This is a team that has had more success than any other team on campus over the past few seasons. This is a team that finished 19th in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Top 25 Coaches’ Poll the past two seasons with a combined record of 88-34 overall.

The two-time defending Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Association (KIAC) champs are 31-10 in conference play over the past two seasons. Winning the KIAC shouldn’t prove difficult for the Pioneers, who were ranked first in the preseason coaches’ poll. The only team that could give them problems is Indiana University Southeast, who was ranked second.

IU Southeast finished second in the KIAC the past two seasons, but began their 2015 campaign with three impressive wins over Cumberland University, the NAIA’s No. 1 ranked team at the time. Point Park defeated IU Southeast last in the 2014 KIAC championship 3-1. The two will meet for what should be a pivotal four game series at the end of April.

The Pioneers are led by head coach Loren Torres, who is in his fifth season at Point Park. Last week, he picked up career victory number 300 with the Pioneers’ 8-6 win vs. Madonna. Torres is 193-88 (.686) at Point Park after spending the 2003-07 seasons at Judson (Ill.), where he was 107-104-2.

Point Park’s senior class consists of seven players who were freshmen during the team’s magical 2012 season.

It was the last year for the Pioneers in the American Mideast Conference (AMC) before making the move to the KIAC. During that season, they went a perfect 11-0 in AMC play and 53-11 overall. The team finished fifth at the NAIA World Series. The current seniors that were on the team have rings from their run to show from it. Earning another ring this season is not out of the question.

After posting a 9-1 record over spring break in Florida, the Pioneers landed the 20th spot in the first NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. Last week, they dropped both games to 13th ranked Davenport as a part of a 1-3 week.

Entering last week, Perfect Game Baseball ranked the Pioneers as the 11th best team in all of NAIA baseball. The expectations are high, and the possibilities are endless for this team.

The Pioneers return to Point Park Field at Green Tree Park Wednesday for the first home game of the year against Penn State Greater Allegheny.