Baseball win road series over Oakland City, look toward first home stand this week

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s baseball team took on Oakland City University last Thursday, March 10 and Friday, March 11 in a three game series in Oakland City, Indiana. Point Park would come away with the series win against the River State Conference (RSC) rival, winning both games of the double header on Thursday afternoon, 6-4 and 1-0. The Pioneers would fall for the first time to another RSC team this season with a 6-8 on Friday afternoon to end the series. Point Park now stands at 11-5 to start their season, with a 5-1 in conference record.
“Our first series (against Clearfield) didn’t go how we had hoped,” said senior pitcher Easton Klien. “But since then we have cleaned things up and have been playing like a true team, which is what I would say is the direct influence to our success.”

Game one would be a nine inning contest that Point Park would jump out to early, starting off with sophomore infielder Issac Santana finding a way home after a wild pitch to score the first run of the game in the top of the second. Senior outfielder Ed Pfluger would join in with a solo blast to left field to put the Pioneers ahead 2-0 in the top of the third. Pfluger would then score on a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth off the bat of senior catcher Luis Mujica. Pfluger would stay hot with yet another boomstick to left to add yet another run on the board in the top of the seventh, putting Point Park ahead 4-2 after a pair of runs were given up between the bottom of the fifth and sixth inning by the Pioneers.

Point Park would cap off the game with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth after a throwing error. The Mighty Oaks would score another run in the bottom of the seventh and bottom of the ninth to try and keep the game close, but senior closer Leo Diaz would shut down Oakland City to give Point Park the 6-4 victory. Klien would get the start for the Pioneers, going six innings while giving up four hits and two runs, while striking out six in the win. Diaz would come in to finish off the final three innings, striking out three while giving up three hits and two runs for the save.

Game two was a much closer match up between the two RSC rivals. With neither team really being able to put up any offense, Point Park would have multiple chances with runners on base to try and bring home. None of those opportunities would get to be taken until the top of the third inning. A leadoff single by junior infielder Luis Hernandez would put the speeder infielder on base, with big slugger Pfluger up to the plate. Hernandez would steal second base during Pfluger’s at bat, and advanced to third after an error on the throw to second. Pfluger grounded out on a slow bouncer to the pitcher, but was able to score Hernandez for the only run of the game. Point Park’s defense and pitching would take care of the Mighty Oaks offense, with sophomore pitcher Jonathon Rivera getting the start in the seven inning contest, pitching a complete game while only allowing two hits and striking out three in the shutout. Point Park would also walk away with no errors on the day to help build on their defensive showing.

Game three would be an odd pitching meltdown for the Pioneers, with Oakland City finding two runs in the bottom of the fourth, before putting up another four runs in the bottom of the fifth to put them 6-0 before Point Park could even record a run. Santana would score the first run for the Pioneers in the top of the sixth to finally get Point Park on the board, but a two run single by the mighty oaks in the bottom of the seventh would be the downfall for the Pioneers in the long run.

Point Park would try to spark a comeback in the top of the eighth, scoring two runs with back to back RBI singles off the bats of sophomore outfielder Carlos Burroughs and senior infielder Edwin De La Rosa. Senior utility man Gianmarco Marcelletti would bring the game within two with a three-run-homer to left center to bring the Pioneers on the brink of a comeback in the top of the ninth. Point Park wouldn’t be able to bring around anymore runs in the inning, ultimately falling 6-8. Senior pitcher Jonathan Pacheco would get the start, going 3.2 innings while giving up four hits and two runs, while striking out two. Pacheco would be tagged with the loss, after a slew of relievers behind him were not able to minimize the damage that he left on base during the fourth inning.

“The team is performing well, but I believe we still haven’t come close to our full potential,” said Klein. “Even though we took 2 of 3 from Oakland City, we are still not happy with those results. That’s what is so special about this team, is that we are never satisfied.”

Point Park are scheduled to play their first home games of the season on Tuesday, March 15, in a doubleheader against Penn State-New Kensington. Due to the recent weather in the Pittsburgh area, these games may be relocated or rescheduled. The Pioneers will then travel to DuBois to take on another Penn State campus in Penn State-DeBois on Wednesday, March 16. Point Park will then return home once again for a home series against RSC opponent WVU Tech on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, in a three game series.

“There’s a sense of pride we have playing at home representing our team and university,” said Klein. “There is just some type of energy we
get from playing on our home field.”

Each home game will be available to stream through the Point Park athletics website, and will have updates on any schedule or location changes of future games.