Baseball falls to Lourdes, Wins series against Rio Grande

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

Point Park’s baseball team went on a road trip this week across the state of Ohio, facing off against Lourdes University and River State Conference (RSC) rival, the University of Rio Grande. The Pioneers took on and fell to Lourdes University 2-1 and 9-8 in a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 10, but would bounce back to win the three-game series against Rio Grande on Saturday, March 13, and Sunday, March 14. Point Park would lose game one, 8-11, but would turn around and win games two and three 5-2 in extra innings and 8-4. The Pioneers won’t play again until Friday, March 19, on the road again against another RSC rival, WVU Tech. 

The Pioneers came out a bit flat in game one of the doubleheader against Lourdes, falling to a 1-0 lead early in the bottom of the third before the Gray Wolves tacked on another run in the bottom of the 6th. Point Park would attempt their comeback in the top of the seventh, with a pinch-hit walk by sophomore Ty Andrews. 

After a strike-out and pop-up, Senior outfielder Jouseph Renovales would then single, putting runners on the corners with two outs. Sophomore Roberto Mejia would then single home the lone run for the Pioneers, advancing Renovales to second. The Gray Wolves would sadly end the Pioneers’ chance at any further comeback with a strike-out to end the game, ending it 2-1. Senior Cole Horew started the game for the Pioneers, going four innings while giving up one earned run and six hits and striking out four. Junior Jonathan Pacheco would relieve him, pitching the final two innings while giving up a run and striking out one, but only allowing two hits. 

Game two was a slugfest of a matchup between the two teams, with the teams combining for a whopping 24 hits and 17 runs. Lourdes would jump out to an early 5-1 lead in the bottom of the first, but both teams would continue to put up runs throughout the contest before Point Park would tie the game in the top of the seventh, and Lourdes would walk it off in the bottom of the inning. Renovales would lead the Pioneers’ offense, going three for five while blasting a home run to start off the top of the first. He would also lead the team in runs batted in (RBI’s) with three. Sophomore infielder Luis Hernandez would be right behind him with his own two RBIs, going two for three in the contest. 

“Everything is about details in games like those,” Junior Luis Mujica said. “We just had to clean up some things. We have the pieces, but we need to put it together in order to get something going, and then we have to ride that wave of momentum.”

The Pioneers would then head off to face the Rio Grande Red Storm on Saturday, March 13, and Sunday, March 14, on the road in a three-game series spanning the weekend, with each being full nine-inning games. The Red Storm would jump out to a similar 5-1 lead in the bottom of the first, but Point Park would tie the game back up with a four-run inning in the top of the 2nd. The game would be back and forth until the bottom of the 7th, where Rio Grande would put up four to put them out to an 11-8 lead that would stay unchanged for the rest of the contest. 

Renovales was once again on cruise control throughout the game, going three for four again with three RBIs and a walk. Andrews and senior Antonio Carrillo would both collect two hits and an RBI apiece, with junior Emille Morillo collecting two RBIs on his one hit. Senior Christian Negron would go six innings while giving up nine earned runs and striking out four and would be relieved by Senior Reuben Rameriez, who would go the remaining two innings and struck out two. 

Games two and three would come with back-to-back comeback wins for the Pioneers, winning 5-2 and 8-4, finally getting that winning momentum they had been looking for. Game two was supposed to be played entirely on Saturday night, but due to darkness, it was paused until the next morning to be continued. Game two was deadlocked at two apiece when the game was delayed in the top of the ninth, and the Pioneers took advantage by putting up three in the top of the 9th and shutting down the Red Storm in the bottom of the inning. 

Senior Nicholas Beardsley went eight innings and gave up only two runs (one earned) while striking out 11 before the delay. Ramereiz would then come in the next day to shut down the Red Storm in his lone, clean inning of work. Senior Ed Pfluger would lead the way in RBIs, scoring two on his one hit, with Hernandez having another solid day at the plate, coming up with two hits and an RBI as well. 

“The biggest turnaround was the offense, pitching, and defense all came together in the second game, and from there, we just rode the momentum into the third game and won that one as well,” Pfluger said. “I think this is the turning point we needed, and hopefully can ride the wave of momentum.”

Game three was a come-from-behind victory for the Pioneers after leading early in the match up 4-0, before Rio Grande stomped back with two runs in the bottom of the 5th and 6th to tie the match up. Pfluger would end the Red Storm rally with a two-run boomstick in the top of the 7th to put the Pioneers ahead for good before tacking on two more in the top of the 8th for good measure. 

“The guys ahead of me (Renovales and Morillo) did their jobs, so I knew I had one job, and that was to get him (Renovales) in,” Pfluger said. “Hitting a home run is always a great feeling, but it was even better putting us ahead of Rio late in the game.” 

Renovales once again led the way in terms of hitting for the Pioneers, going two for three with three RBIs in a strong offensive outing for the Pioneers. Senior Marco Quintanar went seven innings while giving up four runs (two earned) and striking out six in the win. Pacheo would come in for two clean innings to end the game for the Pioneers. 

Point Park’s next matchup won’t be until this weekend, where they will be on the road again for a four-game matchup against the WVU Tech Golden Bears on Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20. The boys will then travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Tuesday, March 23, to play Concordia University in a doubleheader. The Pioneers currently stand at 10-7 on the season, with a 3-3 record against RSC opponents this season, and currently sit in fourth in the RSC standings.