Croup’s Corner – Dominant Duo

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

It’s been a while since Nolan Krivijanski has given up an earned run.

Team USA was preparing for its first game in the World Baseball Classic, which it eventually won. The NCAA Tournament was more than a week away from Selection Sunday. Donald Trump’s wiretapping tweet dominated news headlines.

The date was March 10 at West Virginia University. Krivijanski gave up three earned runs in the third inning, but the Pioneers rallied to win 7-3.

Since that third inning on March 10, Krivijanski has tossed 24-straight scoreless innings, which include three complete games, a perfect game and a one-hitter.

He kept the ball rolling Saturday in Butler, Pa. against Ohio Christian. He gave up eight hits, but still did not allow an earned run in Point Park’s 6-1 victory. Krivijanski has pounded the zone in the scoreless streak, relying heavily on the fastball that has created weak contact.

The opponent hasn’t mattered. Whether the opposing offense is complete or has holes, Krivijanski has approached each team with the same mindset: throw heat and make them beat him.

“We’re not letting our guard down,” Krivijanski said. “In the past, we’ve played down to our competition.”

Nick Beardsley didn’t let his guard down in game two Saturday, throwing a no-hitter against the Trailblazers in a 16-0 win.

The two have been pitching on the same day as of late and have developed a friendly competition that pushes one to one-up the other. Beardsley joked with Krivijanski after his one-hitter last week that followed his perfect game.

“Man, another tough one to follow up on,” Beardsley told Krivijanski.

Well, he followed it up.

Beardsley improved to 3-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 0.85. Krivijanski improved to 5-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.80.

The duo keeps lowering their ERA and increasing their win total, a sign of good things to come.

“I told him I was proud of him and he deserved it,” Krivijanski said. “He’s always had great stuff and he’s really putting it together this year. It’s great to watch.”

Point Park is taking care of business, winning the games it should in the fashion it should. They’re games that the Pioneers should dominate, and they have so far.

Blowing out and shutting out teams at the bottom of the conference is important to the confidence of the team as a whole, and has helped Krivijanski extend his scoreless streak.

“Once you have a good start, you get a little bit of confidence and build off of that from each start,” Krivijanski said.

Beardsley has allowed three earned runs all season through eight appearances and four starts. He has complete games in two of his last three starts, including Saturday’s no-hitter.

The starting role and the newfound one-two punch for both Krivijanski and Beardsley has worked out well so far for the Pioneers, and will help prepare them for the next two River States Conference (RSC) series that could determine their postseason fate.

Point Park gets a weekend of conference action off next week before hitting the road to play Midway, which is 16-4 in the RSC, and Indiana University Southeast, which is 13-3 in the RSC, two weeks later.

In the meantime, the duo will continue to grow their friendly competition to try and pitch the Pioneers to a RSC championship.