Baseball goes 5-1 in return to Pittsburgh, 15-6 on the season

Currently stand in fourth with 8-1 record in the RSC, most wins in the conference

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s baseball team continued their winning ways in their return to the Pittsburgh area, going 5-1 while sweeping River State Conference (RSC) rival WVU Tech and beating two out of the three Penn State extended campuses. The victories now place Point Park at 15-6 on the season and 8-1 in the RSC. The Pioneers lead the conference in wins but stand in fourth place due to undefeated RSC play in Indiana University Kokomo, Midway University and top 20 ranked Indiana University of Southeast. 

The Pioneers started off their week with a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 16 against Penn State-New Kensington at No Offseason sports, due to Point Park’s home field still not being dry enough due to weather. It wouldn’t be until the fourth inning until any form of offense could break through, but Point Park made the most of it, putting up all 10 of their runs in the final three innings of the seven inning contest, helping propel them to a 10-1 victory over the Nittany Lions. 

Senior utility man Gianmarco Marcelletti and sophomore outfielder Carlos Burroughs led the way for Point Park, with Marcelletti going two-for-four with a double and homerun in the fourth, alongside three Runs Batted In (RBI’s). Burroughs would go two-for-three with his own trio of RBI’s and homer in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore starter Kenneth Rolon got the win after going five innings while giving up four hits and a single run, while striking out six in the quality start. 

The Pioneers would then have to make the two hour trip to DuBois, Pennsylvania that same day to take on Penn State-DuBois, with only a limited roster as well. Point Park fell 6-1 to the second Nittany Lions team, scoring their only run of the game in the top of the seventh with a Burroughs home run. Errors would be the downfall of the Pioneers, with the team giving up five unanswered runs thanks to three errors on the defensive side, allowing Penn State to capitalize. Senior starter Ramon Medina would get tagged with the loss after pitching three innings, while giving up five hits and four runs, although only one was earned. He  also collected two strikeouts and a walk to his name before the end of his outing. 

“Having to play early in the day and getting cold while sitting on the way to another game is not easy to handle,” said senior catcher Luis Mujica. “Obviously, we know we are much better than that, and we demonstrated that in the next four games after.”

The Pioneers would then make the trip to Butler, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, March 17, playing at Pullman Park in an RSC doubleheader against the WVU Tech Golden Bears. Point Park wasted no time against their conference rivals, with senior outfielder Ed Pfluger belting a solo shot over the left field wall to put the team ahead in the bottom of the first. The Golden Bears would never get the chance to respond, with the Pioneers putting up seven more runs over eight innings and blanking WVU Tech to win 8-0. 

Game two would be a much closer match up, with the Golden Bears scoring four runs in the first three innings of the matchup to put them ahead 4-0 in the third. Point Park would steadily come back though, putting up a run in the third and fourth innings before putting themselves ahead with three in the bottom of the fifth. An insurance sac fly in the sixth gave the Pioneers the victory at 6-4 to help them keep the sweep alive. 

Friday, March 18 would be another match up at historic Pullman Park, with Point Park taking the sweep over the Golden Bears with a big 11-3 win. After both sides scored early in the contest, WVU Tech would jump out to a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth, before Point Park answered with three of their own to make it 3-4. The offense just kept rolling from there, putting up seven more runs over the next three innings, including boomsticks off the bats of Marcelletti in the fifth and freshman outfielder Jared Campbell in the seventh. 

Sophomore infielder Isaac Santana would also go a perfect four-for-four to help in the offensive onslaught. Throughout the series, junior Easton Klein, sophomore Joathon Rivera, and senior Jonathan Pacheco would get the starts and wins. Klein would go eight-and-a-third innings in his shutout victory, racking up 12 strikeouts. Rivera went five innings while giving up nine hits and four runs but would walk away with seven strikeouts as senior closer Leo Diaz would pick up the two inning save. Pacheco pitched five-and-two-thirds innings in the final game, giving up seven hits and three runs (two earned), while also knocking down eight strikeouts, as Diaz picked up another multi-inning save, going three innings while striking out four and only allowing a single hit. 

“We’ve been very clean in every part of the game,” said Mujica. “Pitching has been great, defense and hitting have been great. We’re staying in the moment and we keep our foot on the gas until the game is over, and that has helped us overcome the obstacles. We’re playing for each other and this brotherhood and bonds in this team just continue to strengthen everyday.” 

The final game of the week would be at Pullman Park once again, with the Pioneers taking on Penn State-Greater Allegheny to play their third Nittany Lions squad of the week. After giving up a run in the bottom of the first, the Pioneers’ offense exploded onto the scene, putting up five runs in the top of the second including a shot off the bat of freshman utility man Jordon Campbell. Point Park would then score at least two runs in every inning after, blowing out the Nittany Lions 17-5 in the shortened six inning match up. Marcelletti stayed hot in the batter’s box, mashing another homer in the fourth while going three-for-three and a walk to go alongside his five RBI’s in an offensive showcase. Freshman Javier Cardoso would get the short start, going two innings while giving up five hits and a single run, while striking out two in what was a “bullpen game” for Point Park. Five total pitchers would be used in the six inning contest. 

Point Park will look to continue their steady winning season this Tuesday, March 22, with a roadtrip to Adrain, Michigan, to take on NAIA opponent Siena Heights University in a doubleheader. The team will then head south bound to Williamsport, Kentucky, to take on their biggest challenges yet in doubleheaders against number five ranked Georgia Gwinnett College and number 17 ranked Cumberlands University. Those games will take place on Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26. 

“(A) series like this is all about playing against the game,” said Mujica. “We go out there and fight every pitch and compete against the game. It doesn’t matter what team we play, we just go about our business the same way.”