Point Park Globe

RSC record improves to 18-0 after weekend sweep against Rio Grande

Senior Addison Domingo pitched a total of seven and a third innings during the Rio Grande series, tallying two saves and a win on the weekend.

Senior Addison Domingo pitched a total of seven and a third innings during the Rio Grande series, tallying two saves and a win on the weekend.

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Photo by Robert Berger | Point Park Athletics

Senior Addison Domingo pitched a total of seven and a third innings during the Rio Grande series, tallying two saves and a win on the weekend.

Written By Robert Berger, Co-News Editor

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Pioneer baseball team improved its conference record to 18-0 after sweeping The Rio Grande RedStorm in a three-game series this past weekend at Kelly Automotive Park in Butler, Pa. 

“We’ve been building up to April and been talking about it this whole time,” head coach Loren Torres said. “We knew our opponents were going to get better and we met the challenge and played good baseball.”

Originally scheduled for an 11 a.m. start time, Friday’s games did not begin until 4 p.m. due to snowfall in the morning. As a result, games two and three were postponed to Saturday afternoon.

With usual first-game starter Nick Beardsley on the mound, the junior made quick work through the first two innings allowing no hits and giving up two walks.

In the third inning, Beardsley sat down the first two batters faced. However, junior David Rodriguez came up third and drove the first pitch he saw over the right field wall. The RedStorm took an early 1-0 lead.

Point Park, however, was quick to respond in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Yuri Sucart walked to lead off and Senior Stefan Mrkonja followed up with a sacrifice bunt.

Rio Grande’s pitcher Osvaldo Duran overthrew the first baseman and Mrkonja reached base safely. After more small ball from the Pioneers, Point Park tacked two runs on the board after a wild pitch and an RBI off the bat of senior Chris Hernandez.

“We did our best to just get on base and do whatever it took to make things happen,” Hernandez said.

With two outs against them, Rio responded in the fourth to tie it up when Beardsley overthrew Hernandez at the plate, allowing Rio’s Eli Daniels to steal home with no contest. They added another run in the fifth when Rodriguez hit his second home run of the game when leading off the inning.

The game remained tied until the eighth inning. Seniors Jake Horew, Richard Perez and Hernandez reached base safely eventually bringing senior Ben Herstine to the plate. Herstine bounced one up the middle and gave Point Park the lead as they both scored.

After striking out nine batters through six innings, senior Addison Domingo pitched in relief of Beardsley in the seventh inning. Domingo sat down his first seven batters faced. The RedStorm did manage to score once in the ninth, but the Point Park defense ended the game the following play completing a 3-6-3 double play, securing the 5-4 win.

The team was in action again Sunday afternoon completing the three-game series. Starting the nine-inning contest for Point Park was junior Felix Castillo.

“We’ve been getting more innings out of Felix, and we wanted to keep the rotation the same and we got a lot of innings from him,” Torres said. 

Rio jumped on Castillo quick as they scored twice in the first inning on two hits and two walks.

“With him, you need him to attack at all times,” Hernandez said. “He doesn’t fool around with hitters, he just goes straight at it.”

Point Park answered in the bottom half of the third when the team scored twice with two outs. Hernandez hit a line drive to center, bringing Sucart and Mrkonja in to score.

Rio Grande followed up in the fourth inning following sloppy defense from the Pioneers. With runners on second and third, Erik Montero misjudged a bare hand attempt at a ground ball allowing one run to score the runner to advance to third. He would eventually score on a stolen base giving Rio a 4-2 lead.

After putting up runs in the fifth and sixth inning, Point Park managed to tie the game.  The Pioneers broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh putting up three more runs to take a 7-4 lead. 

Domingo closed the game again entering in the seventh inning. Through two innings, he allowed no hits and got one strikeout while earning the save.

“I have nothing but confidence in our bullpen,” Hernandez said. “We know every day they are going to come in and do their job.”

The final game of the weekend followed and was a seven-inning contest. Junior Nick Bucci was tested from the start as Rio Grande loaded the bases in the first inning. Solid defensive efforts from the Pioneers left them unscathed, and Bucci made it out of the inning.

Point Park struck in the bottom half of the inning taking a 1-0 lead after a Hernandez RBI single up the middle. The offensive efforts continued in the second, and Point Park scored on a wild pitch.

Point Park tallied runs in every inning except the third. The largest effort came in the fifth inning as Mrkonja tripled to left, and Hernandez drove him in on a double to deep left. 

The lead held up until Rio put up a pair of runs in the third and fourth innings. Junior Ryan Huber was brought in to pitch during the fifth inning and sat down two batters. Domingo was brought in to close the final two and third innings. While allowing two hits and striking out four, Domingo earned the save and successfully closed every game of the Rio Grande series. Point Park won game three 7-2.

“There is not a better guy in the country we would rather have on the mound with the game on the line,” Torres said. “He is the key to the pitching staff.”

After two non-conference matchups against Clarion this week, Point Park resumes conference play next weekend at home against Midway University.

“We have a lot of baseball to play and every series is going to be difficult,” Torres said. 

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