Bats explode for 40 runs in 3-game series sweep to improve 15-0 RSC

Written By Robert Berger, Co-News Editor

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After 25 innings of baseball last weekend, the Pioneers posted 40 runs on the board to  Ohio Christian University’s (OCU) nine to continue their perfect record in conference play. 

“I felt like finally our offense produced to its capabilities this weekend,” head coach Loren Torres said. “We finally swung the bat consistently. Not that putting up 40 runs is expected, our engaged men, our planning at the plate and staying with it and putting pressure on the defense.” 

As of Monday, the powerhouse lineup consisting of 13 seniors currently sits at 16th in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Top-25 Coaches’ Poll.  

“With this many seniors, it helps us transition the newer guys because we don’t have to worry as much as coaches, and we can give our attention to other things,” Torres said. “They help bring the group along from point A to point B.”

After sweeping the Asbury Eagles last week at remote home locations due to inclimate weather, the Pioneers traveled to Xenia, Ohio over the weekend for a three-game series against the OCU Trailblazers. 

In the closest conference game the team has played thus far, junior Nicholas Beardsley started for Point Park in the series opener against OCU.

The Pioneers got on the board first after the walk of junior Erik Montero resulted in him scoring on a single to center from senior Edberg Dominguez. 

The offense followed in the third inning as senior Ray Adames scored on a double down the right field line off the bat of Montero.

After a scoreless fourth inning, Point Park notched two more runs in the top of the fifth. Senior Billy Kidd led the inning off by reaching on an error charged to the shortstop. 

Kidd crossed the plate first after a deep sacrifice fly to right from Montero. The next at-bat, Cole Horew scored by stealing home on a passed ball behind. 

“We felt that we were leaving a lot of runners on,” Torres said. “Even though our stats showed we were hitting and were good on paper, we still made base running mistakes and I feel we cleaned that up this weekend.”

The biggest threat from OCU during the weekend came in the final three innings of game one. After allowing the first three batters on base in the bottom of the seventh, Beardsley quickly gave up two runs. Torres didn’t worry.

“I don’t see us being out of any game, and our pitching is because of that,” Torres said. “Our pitching is the reason for that.”

With Beardsley only having three days of rest since his last start, junior Jake Forgrave entered to pitch in relief for the starter. He sat down the first three batters faced and got Point Park out of the jam. 

“Our plan was to not let them [the starting pitchers] throw more than 80 pitches. It worked out very well and we were fortunate to score a lot of runs,” Torres said. “They all threw maybe 60 or 70 pitches and we pulled them early.”

The Pioneers respond with a pair of RBIs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings for a total of nine runs. OCU came to bat in the bottom of the ninth facing a 9-5  deficit.

The first three batters reached base safely. One eventually scored on a wild pitch. Junior Addison Domingo was handed the baseball and closed the game out for Point Park. Only allowing one man score who was previously on base, Domingo earned the save and secured the 9-7 victory. 

Facing 40 degree temperatures at first pitch,  the Pioneers made quick work in the seven innings of game two. 

After leading off with a strikeout, the Pioneers managed to notch seven runs before the second out of the game. 

Senior Ben Herstine lead the charge that inning after hitting a grand slam to center field on the first pitch he saw. The Pioneers totaled nine runs on nine hits that inning.

Runs came again in the next four innings for the Pioneers as they tallied one in the second inning, three in the third inning, six in the fourth inning and one more in the fifth inning. By the seventh inning, the difference was 20 runs. 

Felix Castillo started on the hill. The pitching staff held OCU hitless until the seventh inning as a result of the combined efforts of Castillo, Christian Negron, Anthony Savarino and Robelin Bautista. 

The perfect game ended with the first two batters of the inning. Bautista hit the leadoff batter and followed up by giving up a single to center. Giving up one more hit, and a run, Bautista was able to finish off the game and the Pioneers came out on top 20-1. 

The team finished with 24 hits on the game. 

The teams returned to action the following day for the final nine-inning contest. Junior Nick Bucci had the nod on the mound hoping to pick up his fourth win of the campaign. 

Like the first two games, Point Park was the first on the board after putting up six runs in the top half of the third. More insurance runs were picked up in the fifth, eighth and ninth innings. 

Bucci lasted five innings while giving up four hits and earned three strikeouts. 

After non-conference games against Seaton Hill and Penn State Greater Allegheny, the team will continue conference play at home this weekend against Rio Grande University. 

One threat coach Torres believes Rio will pose is strong off-speed pitching.

“They threw only three or four fastballs to us through a four  game series last year. It was 90% off speed and that’s what we need to be ready for,” Torres said.

With a bleak forecast, Torres expects the next few games to be played at an alternate home field. 

“We will probably have to move them,” Torres said. “I just don’t know where or how and I’m working on it, so it will probably be moved.”

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