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Baseball rolling as one of top teams in NAIA early in 2018

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Baseball rolling as one of top teams in NAIA early in 2018

Junior infielder Billy Kidd drives one of his three hits during the team’s home opener against conference opponent Cincinnati Christian. Through 22 games, Kidd is batting .345 and has regularly started at second base.

Junior infielder Billy Kidd drives one of his three hits during the team’s home opener against conference opponent Cincinnati Christian. Through 22 games, Kidd is batting .345 and has regularly started at second base.

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Junior infielder Billy Kidd drives one of his three hits during the team’s home opener against conference opponent Cincinnati Christian. Through 22 games, Kidd is batting .345 and has regularly started at second base.

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Junior infielder Billy Kidd drives one of his three hits during the team’s home opener against conference opponent Cincinnati Christian. Through 22 games, Kidd is batting .345 and has regularly started at second base.

Written By Robert Berger, Co-News Editor

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Undefeated in conference play thus far, the Pioneer baseball team is off to it’s best start in program history with a 21-2 overall record while outscoring opponents 171-35.

The team was in action Monday afternoon making up last weekend’s series against the Asbury University Eagles. Due to snow that covered Green Tree Park, the team traveled to its former home venue at Kelly Automotive Park in Butler, Pa. for the doubleheader.

“When you work hard and go since fall, few things distract you,” head coach Loren Torres said. “You put so much in that the cold weather isn’t much of a factor.”

Offense was key for the Pioneers, as they outscored the Eagles 11-0 in the first game played. Point Park had seven different players get a hit, with junior Eric Montero, senior Richard Perez and senior Edberg Dominguez each tallying two.

Junior Nick Beardsley started in game one for Point Park. While striking out seven batters, he lasted six innings, only giving up four hits through the contest. With the win, Beardsley improved his record to 4-1 in five appearances.

“We have to keep dominating and do what we need to do in between innings, during pre and after the game. We have to keep taking care of ourselves,” Beardsley said.

In relief to finish off the seventh inning was junior Ryan Huber. Making his sixth relief appearance of the season, Huber sat down all three batters. Currently Huber has a 1.42 ERA through 6.1 innings pitched.

“We are very good defensively and we are achieving at our highest ability. We are achieving at our highest ability on the mound,” Torres said.

Game two followed, and Point Park walked away with a 4-0 win.

Junior Felix Castillo was on the mound and improved his record to 5-0. In his fifth start of the season,  Castillo gave up three hits through five innings while allowing two walks.

Senior Addison Domingo finished the final two innings and allowed only one hit while earning three strikeouts.

Point Park took a 2-0 lead early in the second inning. After reaching with a lead off single, Perez came around to score the first run of the game after senior Ben Herstine ripped a single past the shortstop. Senior Jake Horew scored the second run after reaching on a walk and was driven in on a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Billy Kidd.

In the following inning, senior Chris Hernandez led off with a homerun to right field on the first pitch he saw. It was the first homer of the season for the catcher and the fifth of his Point Park career.

The last scoring effort came in the sixth inning. Herstine, who reached on a single, scored when sophomore Cole Horew singled down the left field line.

Upon wrapping up on Monday, the Pioneers lead the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in team ERA at 1.54. They also lead the NAIA in opponent batting average at .191.

The season began in 80-degree Florida weather one month ago at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. After losing 1-0 in their first game facing Warner University, the team answered with 19-straight wins.

Along with grabbing seven wins in Florida, the Pioneers did so in a dominant fashion more times than not. In the series following the Warner University, Point Park took on fellow NAIA school University of Michigan Dearborn.

In the two-game series, Point Park outscored Michigan 32-2. The Pioneers took the first game 14-1 and game two 18-1. On the day, the team tallied 32 total hits.

To conclude the Florida trip, the Pioneers faced NAIA school Judson University. Once again, the team heavily outscored its opponents, 23-4, racking up 30 hits between the two games.

The first series of conference play came next as Point Park swept Indiana University (IU) Kokomo in a three game series. With offense leading the way once again, the Pioneers outscored the Cougars 26-5. In game two, the team notched 11 hits from nine different players.

As conference play rolled on, Point Park continued the undefeated start as it next faced Brescia on the road. While the Bearcats held the Pioneers to their closest games of the season, they were still outscored 15-3.

Finally, the Pioneers took on Cincinnati Christian in their home opener. While battling harsh temperatures and snow, Point Park extended its undefeated conference record.

“We love the snow here at Point Park,” Beardsley said. “It’s tough and difficult but you just have to stay warm in between innings. I feel bad for the guys without the jackets.”

Point Park looks to continue its undefeated conference record this weekend, as it faces Ohio Christian on the road in a four-game conference series starting Friday. Only the first three games will count toward Point Park’s conference record.

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