Baseball drops first series since March 10th, end winning streak at 15

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

Point Park’s men’s baseball team played a three-game home series against River State Conference (RSC) rival and first in the standings Indiana University Southeast, losing two out of three and losing their first series in almost a month. The Pioneers would drop the first two games of the series, falling to the Grenadiers 5-3 on Friday, April 9, and the first game of the doubleheader 10-9 on Saturday, April 10. The team would bounce back in the second game on Saturday with an 8-0 win to end IU Southeast’s undefeated streak in RSC play. 

Game one was a closely fought battle between the two RSC powerhouses, with both teams riding double-digit win streaks heading into the contest. The Grenadiers were able to strike first in the top of the first inning with a run to put them ahead early. The Grenadiers would then put up two more in the third before the Pioneers were able to strike back, thanks in part to a solo blast off the bat of junior Ed Pfulger to set the score at 3-1. IU Southeast would score two more in the fifth and would lead 5-1 until the seventh inning, where junior Luis Mujica would go deep with a two-run homer to bring the game to 5-3. Sadly, neither team would score for the rest of the contest, with the Grenadiers shutting down the Pioneers’ offense for the rest of the game to end the Pioneers’ 15-game win streak. Senior Nicholas Beardsley would get the start, going 4.1 innings while giving up eight hits and five earned runs while striking out three in one of his shortest starts of the season. Senior Ruben Ramirez would come for Beardsley to pitch the next 4.2 innings, shutting down the Grenadiers offense for the rest of the game by striking out seven and giving up two hits. 

Game two was an offensive explosion, with the two teams combining for 19 runs and 31 hits in the first half of the doubleheader. Luis Mujica would open up the scoring in the second inning thanks to a solo shot to put the Pioneers ahead 1-0, followed up by two-run innings in the fourth and fifth to help boost the Pioneers lead to five. Sadly, the seventh inning was a collapse for Point Park, with the Grenadiers erupting for 10 runs in the seventh inning off of nine hits to put IU Southeast ahead 10-5. The Pioneers would score three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning and would try and mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Point Park would score one but wasn’t able to squeak across the last run to keep the game alive, ending with a 10-9 loss in the crazy contest. Several players on the Pioneers put up three hits and multiple RBIs, including Ed Pfluger, senior Jouseph Renovales, senior Antonio Carillo and junior Emille Morillo. Senior Cole Horew would start the contest for the Pioneers, going six innings and giving up eight hits and three runs while striking out one. Junior Jonathon Pacheo would try and end the inning, going two-thirds of an inning before being pulled after giving up two runs. Seniors Ryan Huber and Christian Negron would both come in but couldn’t get out of the deadly seventh inning either, with neither being able to record an out and giving up a combined five runs. Ruben Ramirez, after a long relief role the day before, would come in to finish off the rest of the game, going 2.1 innings while giving up three hits and striking out two, while keeping the Grenadiers off the scoreboard for the rest of the game. 

After losing games one and two, most teams would feel pretty much defeated heading into game three. The Pioneers went in with a fire in their eyes. The fire would be shown after a first-pitch blast off the bat of Pfluger in the first inning, putting the Pioneers ahead 3-0 early. The Pioneers would put another run on the board with an RBI single in the third, then put up two more in both the fifth and sixth to put the game out of reach at 8-0.

“We never stopped fighting throughout the whole weekend,” Mujica said. “We just kept swinging the bats and playing hard every single pitch.”

Pfluger would continue to keep his bat hot with a double and a homer while also bringing around five RBIs in the dominant showing. Junior Carlos Sanchez would help out with two hits and two RBIs as well. After a rough relief outing, Ryan Huber would come in for the start in game three and was excellent. The senior threw the complete game 7 innings, giving up only three hits while striking out three to shutout the Grenadiers. 

After the series against IU Southeast, the Pioneers now stand at 24-9 on the season, with a 13-5 conference record. Their record puts them at a tie for second place in the RSC standings, just behind the Grenadiers and tied with Asbury University. 

“We need to go into next week the same way we go into every week,” Pfulger said. “With a lot of energy and focus on playing our best baseball.” 

By release time, the Pioneers will have played on Tuesday, April 13, against Shawnee State University in a doubleheader at home. The team will then have a road trip to look forward to, starting on Friday, April 16, with a doubleheader and a single game on Saturday, April 17, against RSC rival Midway University at Midway. The Pioneers will then travel to Portsmouth, Ohio, to face off against Shawnee State again on Monday, April 19, in another doubleheader.