Baseball begins season with Southeast Rumble tournament, finish 2-2

Pioneers enters season just outside NAIA Top 25 rankings


Photo by Chris Denver

Senior pitcher Easton Klein (left) and sophomore catcher Jordon Campbell (right) together

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

Point Park’s baseball team (2-2) started their 2023 season over the weekend in the NAIA Southeast Rumble at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia. The tournament started on February 17 and ended on February 20 and the team finished the series 2-2. In the River States Conference coach’s preseason standings the Pioneers were receiving votes to be placed in the NAIA Top 25 rankings and were ranked second.

Game one was a closely contested affair, as the Pioneers took on the No. 24 ranked Taylor (Indiana) University Trojans to start off their season. Point Park scored first as sophomore outfielder Jared Campbell stole home in the top of the third inning after reaching on an error. The Trojans responded with a two run homer in the bottom of the fourth and jumped out to a 2-1 lead that would stand until the ninth inning. 

In the top of the ninth, Campbell generated the offense again for the Pioneers with a run-scoring double with two outs that scored junior infielder Issac Santana and sent the game to extra innings tied at two apiece. The Trojans found the game winning runs in the bottom of the tenth, with a walk off grand slam to hand PPU a 6-2 loss to start off their season. 

Game two was chaotic for both sides as Point Park took on the Campbellsville (Kentucky) University Wildcats on Saturday. The Pioneers were able to jump out to an early lead with a three-run triple from sophomore infielder Carlos Martinez in the bottom of the second. Campbell scored Martinez in the same inning with a single to take a 4-0 lead. The Wildcats found their footing in the top of the fifth and scored seven runs with two outs against them. 

In the bottom of the same inning, the Pioneers found their own scoring streak to put up five runs, thanks to a handful of singles that became runs batted in and a walk that gave Point Park a 9-7 lead. The Wildcats threatened the green and gold’s lead in the top of the seventh when they scored a run off a double with only one out. The Pioneers’ senior reliever Sebastian Rodriguez the game by causing a pop fly to center to clutch a 9-8 win for the team’s first tally in the left column.

Game three was a tougher outing for the Pioneers pitching staff against the William Carey University Crusaders. Point Park scored first in the contest as junior infielder Eddie Javier brought in a run on a sacrifice groundout. The Crusaders responded with seven runs in the bottom of the first, before scoring eight runs in the final four innings of the game, going ahead 16-1. Point Park generated some offense in the top of the seventh with a Javier single and a three run homerun from sophomore catcher Jordan Campbell, the brother of Jared Campbell, to make the score 16-5, which stood as the final.

Game four was another close one as the Pioneers took on the Faulkner University Eagles in their final game of the tournament. The Eagles jumped out to an early lead with a two run dinger in the top of the first to make it a 2-0 ball game. Martinez mashed a two run single to tie the game and Jared Campbell followed up with an RBI single to give the Pioneers the 3-2 lead. Faulkner struck a solo homer and an RBI single to take the lead once again at 4-3. 

In the bottom of the fifth, a single to right field courtesy of junior catcher Michali Brito tied the game at four, and the Eagles responded with an RBI single in the top of the sixth to go ahead 5-4. 

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the same inning, Santana was hit by a pitch to bring in the tying run at five apiece. Neither team was able to score and the game headed into extra innings once again. Jared Campbell was walked with bases loaded and propelled the Pioneers to victory in the bottom of the tenth inning, 6-5. 

The Pioneers will take a short break before returning south, heading to Davenport, Florida for the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. The invitational starts on February 24, and will extend till February 27. The Pioneers will take on No. 1 ranked Southeastern University before taking on Judson University and Cornerstone University to end out the invitational. Each game will have live streaming and statistics through the Point Park Athletics website.