Baseball cruises through Concordia, sweeps Brescia in first home stand

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

Point Park’s Men’s baseball team has been on a bit of a tear as of late, and this week was no different for the Pioneers. The Pioneers continued their winning ways, sweeping Concordia University in the doubleheader on the road on Wednesday, March 24, by the scores of 4-2 and 11-3, respectively. The team then returned home for their first home series in over 600 days and would go on to sweep River State Conference (RSC) rival Brescia University in the three-game weekend series. The team would come up with a 4-3 victory on Friday, March 26, and would come up with wins in the doubleheader on Saturday, March 27, with 15-8 and 8-2 victories. 

The Pioneers would travel up to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to face the Concordia University Cardinals on Wednesday and came up with two big wins against their NAIA opponents. Although game one was low scoring, the Pioneers were able to jump out to an early lead, scoring a run in each of the first three innings, including a solo shot off the bat of senior Antonio Carrillo. The Cardinals were only able to muster two runs in the contest, scoring in the bottom of the 4th and 6th, but were never able to get within striking distance of the Pioneers. Sophomore Easton Klein would start game one, going three innings and pitching into the 4th before giving up a run and eventually being relieved by Junior Jonathan Pacheco. Pacheco would earn the win, going 2.2 innings while striking out three, giving up a run. Senior Ruben Ramirez would come in to close out the contest, striking out his lone batter in the 6th and striking out the side in the 7th to end the game and receive the save. 

Game two would be a much bigger offensive game for Point Park, with the Pioneers once again getting an early run in the first to start off the contest. The Pioneers would put up six in the first four innings and would put the game away with five more runs in the 7th to end any hope of a comeback for the Cardinals. Sophomore Danilo Leon led the way with two hits and two RBIs, followed up by junior Ed Pfluger, who would record two RBIs and a hit and a walk. Senior Ryan Huber would go five innings while striking out seven while giving up three earned runs in the win. Ramirez would give up an unearned run but would shut down the Cardinals in the 6th and 7th to close out the game once again. 

“Our hitting coming together as a line-up has definitely helped us,” Pfluger said. “Our pitchers have put us in positions to win games all season, and we had just been missing the consistency at the plate that we are starting to see these past couple weeks.”

The Pioneers would return to a warm welcome home on Friday with a close 4-3 victory over the Brescia Bearcats on their home field. Brescia would strike first in the 3rd with a run, but the Pioneers would bounce right back the next inning with two to put them ahead. The Bearcats would respond in the 6th with a two-run homer to deep center to tie the game back up, but the Pioneers would not allow themselves to be beaten on their home field. Junior Luis Mujica made sure of this with a single to left to score the go-ahead run in the eighth. After eight strong innings and 13 strikeouts by senior Nicholas Beardsley, Ramirez would once again come in to strike out the side for the save to end the game. 

“Finally being home after two years is a different feeling. We were all excited and just wanted to play the game,” Mujica said. “It was a really fun and close game because those are the types of situations we want to be in, where we have to pull together and do whatever it takes to win.” 

Game two was much more explosive for the Pioneers, with the team racking up 20 hits in their 15-8 win. Junior Emille Morillo led the hitting, going four for five and picked up an RBI in the game, and would be followed up by senior Jouseph Renovales, who went three for four and also brought in an RBI. Sophomore Ty Andrews brought in four RBIs in the contest as well. Senior Christian Negron would go 4.1 innings and struck two while giving up five runs. Huber would come in to throw 2.1 innings and give up three runs while keeping the game close for the Pioneers in the fifth. Ramirez would be called on again to close the game out for the Pioneers, striking out four in his 2.1 innings of work to earn him another save. 

Game three was a strong outing by the Pioneers again with an 8-2 victory in seven innings. Pfluger and Andrews would lead Point Park’s offense with home runs, as well as both going two for three with three RBIs against the Bearcats. The Pioneers would also score a run in every inning except for the second during the contest, taking advantage of every opportunity handed to them during the game. Senior Cole Horew would throw a complete game while giving up two runs (one earned) and striking out seven in the dominant performance. 

“We have been really tough on the field. I feel like regardless of the situation, anyone can step up and get that big pitch or that big hit,” Mujica said. “The pitching staff has been working hard, and how deep we have been offensively just keeps us confident.” 

After this week, the Pioneers now stand at 18-7 and are currently on a 10-game winning streak heading into April. The team is also 9-3 in conference play, landing them at second place in the RSC standings behind Indiana University Southeast, who is undefeated in conference play. The Pioneers will look to keep the hot streak going with a doubleheader at home against non-conference Fisher College on Wednesday, March 30 at noon. 

The team will continue the homestand with weekend series against RSC rival Ohio Christian University, playing a doubleheader on Friday, April 2, and a single game on Saturday, April 3. The Pioneers will then head back on the road again to Adrian, Michigan, on Monday, March 5, where they’ll play a doubleheader against another non-conference team in Siena Heights University. All home games are available to stream on the Point Park University sports website as well as details about the spectator policy for home games this season.