Baseball wraps up weekend in Florida Invitational

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

Point Park’s Baseball team went on a tear this weekend through the RussMatt invitational in Florida, winning 4 of 5 games from Friday, Feb. 26 till Sunday, Feb. 28. Facing off against several highly ranked NAIA opponents, the team would win both their back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, winning against Spring Arbor University and Trinity Baptist College. The Pioneers would fall in their last game of the weekend on Sunday to Number 1 ranked Southeastern University to finish off the invitational. 

The Pioneers started off the weekend with back-to-back wins on Friday, Feb. 26, defeating the Spring Arbor Cougars 6-2 and the Trinity Baptiste Eagles 20-5. Spring Arbor would jump out first with two runs in the top of the 3rd inning, but it would be the only form of offense from the Cougars all game, thanks to the pitching excellence of senior pitcher Nicholas Beardsley. After 5 innings of quietness, the Pioneers’ offense came alive thanks to the bat of sophomore first baseman Ty Andrews, who unleashed a two-out grand slam to put the Pioneers ahead for good. Junior Ed Pfluger and sophomore Luis Hernandez would score the two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Beardsley would keep the Cougars down for the rest of the game in his complete game. 

The second game of the evening was a blowout by the Pioneers, with Andrew smashing yet another grand slam, the second homer of the inning after a big fly by junior Carlos Sanchez in the seven-run 2nd inning. Several players came out the game with multiple hits and runs, including senior Antonio Carrillo going 3 for 4 and sophomore Danilo Leon going 2 for 3, with both helping to put up four runs in the 3rdinning. Senior Cole Horew got the win with a 5 inning start and 3 strikeouts. Freshman Tyler Pullin threw the last two innings to end the game. 

On Saturday, the Pioneers faced off against Trinity Baptist once again in another doubleheader, winning 10-0 and 15-0 against the Eagles. Point Park would put the game away early, scoring 4 in the first inning and 2 more in the second. Although the Pioneers only recorded 7 hits in game one, they made the most of every swing, with junior catcher Luis Mucjica launching a 3-run homer in the top of the third to put the Pioneers up 9-0. Senior starting pitcher Christian Negron would keep his record clean in the young 2021 season, pitching a 6 inning shutout and struck out 6 in the win. Sophomore Easton Klein would end the game with a 1-2-3 seventh inning to end game one. Game two was much of the same for the Pioneers, with the offense exploding in the fourth inning to end the 0-0 deadlock with 7 runs in the inning, then added 8 more in the 6th. It was another all-around effort of runs and hits for the Pioneers, with a two-run homer by Carillo leading the way. Pfluger and Mujica would also bring around multiple runs in the game, which was capped off by an excellent performance from junior Jonathon Pacheco, who would throw 6 shutout innings in the start and would strike out 7. Klein would once again come in to end the game cleanly. 

In the final game of the invitational, the Pioneers lost a nail-biter to the Number 1 ranked Southeastern Fire, 3-2. Point Park would start the scoring in the bottom of the third inning, thanks to a RBI ripped off the bat of Pfluger. The Fire would immediately respond an inning later with their own run. The Pioneers would score another in the fifth off a single by Carillo, but once again, the Fire responded with a run of their own in the sixth. The game would stay deadlocked until the top of the ninth, where the Fire would score a go-ahead single to keep Southeastern in front and end it. Senior starter Marco Quintanar would pitch 6 innings and strike out 5 in a strong outing against the NAIA powerhouse team. 

The boys are starting off their season already at 7-2 and will look to continue their strong start to their season with games against River State Conference (RSC) rival Asbury University on Friday, March 5, and on Saturday, March 6. Point Park will then travel on Tuesday, March 9, to face off against Lourdes University on the road in another doubleheader. The team will continue playing on the road until late March, in which by then, the Pittsburgh winter will hopefully have calmed down enough that Pioneers will be able to play on their home field.