Baseball stays perfect in conference, extends winning streak to 14

Photo by Sam Robinson | Globe Archives
Seniors Richard Perez and Andres Herrera celebrate at home plate in a game last year. The Pioneers have won 14-straight games.

Written By Robert Berger, Co-News Editor

The Pioneer baseball team continued its dominating start to 2018 in Owensboro, Ky. last weekend, sweeping conference opponent Brescia Bearcats in a three-game series.

“We have to be able to show up the same team everyday,” head coach Loren Torres said. “We have done that, but the season tends to get long and the ability to show up energized and focused will be the difference whether we can keep this start going.”

On the mound for Point Park in game one was junior Nicholas Beardsley. In his third appearance this season, Beardsley threw seven innings while giving up one walk and five hits. He earned eight strikeouts through the contest.

In the eighth inning, Beardsley handed the ball to senior Addison Domingo to close out the game.  After allowing two hits and two base on balls, Domingo earned his fourth save of the season as he secured the 3-0 victory.

“I think it’s important that we have a guy like that out of the pen that we can bring in the first inning, the middle of the game or on the back end of a game and he will keep the lead,” Torres said. “We have two aces in Beardsley and Domingo.”

While picking up the first win at Brescia, the Pioneers notched nine hits. The only runs of the day came in the top half of the fifth inning. Sophomore Cole Horew scored from third after junior Erik Montero lined a two-out single to center to secure the first run of the contest.

Later in the inning, senior Edberg Dominguez reached base on an error which brought the next two Pioneers across the plate.

Point Park reached base 13 times Friday with nine hits.  Horew went 4-for-4 with a triple and three base hits. Senior Ben Herstine had two hits in four at-bats with a double and a single.

The final two games of the series were played Saturday afternoon.

Taking the mound in game two of the series was junior Nick Bucci. He tossed 3.2 innings, gave up two runs, one of which was earned. Domingo entered in relief and threw the rest of the game. Earning his first win of the year, Domingo pitched 5.1 innings of shutout relief and struck out two batters. In the fourth inning, Brescia loaded the bases, and Domingo got himself out of the jam.

While Point Park only registered four hits, Brescia allowed six walks, four hits by pitches and four errors.

The Pioneers scored early in the contest with all five runs coming from the first two innings. Point Park won the game 5-2.

“I think we have more in the tank offensively and we are looking to get that out of the team to make sure we are ready to compete,” Torres said.

Once again, pitching highlighted the final contest as the Pioneers walked away with a 7-1 victory. In his third start of the season, junior Felix Castillo threw five innings to earn his third win this year. Castillo gave up one run on five hits in the five innings he threw.

Sophomore Daryl Pino entered in relief and struck out two batters while giving up two hits to secure the win. The Pioneers now have a team ERA of 1.97, the lowest in the country entering the week.

The Pioneers only finished with five hits in game three, but relied on five walks and three hit batters from the Bearcats to tack seven runs on the board.

Freshman Kestler Harbuck started for the Bearcats and gave up three walks to his first three batters faced who were seniors Stefan Mrkonja, Jake Horew and Chris Hernandez. All three scored and the Pioneers took an early lead.

The Pioneers scored again in the fourth from two sacrifice flies off the bats of Reynaldo Adames and J. Horew and went up 5-0. The final scoring effort came in the seventh inning as Dominguez drove in two runs on a single to left.

After sweeping the Bearcats, Point Park is ranked 22 in the National Association Of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The team improved their record to 13-1, and are now 6-0 in conference play.

Following the weekend conference matchups, the Pioneers shut out Washington and Jefferson 10-0 in a non-conference matchup originally scheduled for Tuesday March 13.

Junior Christian Negron started for the Pioneers and lasted six innings and gave up just two hits. Cole Horew earned his first start in center field this year and picked up his fourth four-hit game of the season, driving in three runs and scoring three times. Adames went 3-for-5 and scored three times in the win.

“I think we scored in every inning which is one of the things we didn’t do over the weekend,” Torres said after the game. “We kinda put everything offensively together today and were just consistent all around.”

The Pioneers are scheduled to host conference opponent Cincinnati Christian University in their home opener at Green Tree Park for a four-game series this weekend.

“We haven’t even practiced at home so we’re at least trying to get on the field Thursday and play Friday and Saturday,” Torres said. “There is a possibility we move the trip to Cincy, but that’s my last resort.”