Baseball sweeps WVU Tech on the road, continues hold on first place in RSC standings

First home series will be played in Washington, PA at Wild Things Park against #17 ranked Georgetown College

Written By Mason Strawn, Co-Sports Editor

Point Park baseball (15-5, 8-1 RSC) swept the WVU Tech Golden Bears (9-16, 4-5 RSC) on the road on March 16 and 17 in a three game series. The win over the sixth placed Golden Bears helped solidify the Pioneers first place spot in the RSC standings. Point Park continues to receive votes for the NAIA Top 25, but remain on the outside looking in at the date of publication, still standing at 27.

            “Our team has proven year in and year out that we can compete with and beat the best teams in the nation,” said senior starting pitcher Easton Klein. “I feel like there has been a lack of respect shown to our team recently and we continue to walk with a chip on our shoulder and use it as motivation to go and show those teams who we are.” 

The Pioneers visited GoMart Ballpark in Charleston, WV for their three game series; home of Division I Marshall University and the professional level Charleston Dirty Birds. Game one saw the Pioneers offense burst out the gate and start with a two-run home run off the bat of sophomore outfielder Jared Campbell in the top of the first. Campbell generated another run in the top of the first with a deep sacrifice fly to center to score another run and extend the Pioneers lead to 3-0. 

Sophomore infielder Carlos Martinez shot a single right up the middle to center in the top of the fifth to score another run, before the Golden Bears responded in the bottom of the sixth with a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-1 game. Senior outfielder Justin Oakley capped off the scoring for the Pioneers with a solo moonshot to left center field to make it 5-1 in the top of the eighth for an insurance run. WVU Tech found a run in the bottom of the ninth after the opposing batter was hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded, but the Point Park relievers shut the door and got the final three outs and won the game 5-2.

Martinez went four-for-four with a walk and a triple in the contest and collected two runs and an RBI. Jared Campbell put up three RBI’s, while Klein went seven innings and struck out eight batters to collect the win. Senior reliever Sebastian Rodriguez received the save with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth. 

Game two saw the Golden Bears strike first offensively after they scored a run off of a single in the bottom of the second to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Neither team was seemingly able to generate any offense until the fifth inning. The Pioneers offense exploded for seven runs, thanks in part to a pair of homers from Jared Campbell and junior catcher Michali Brito, to make it a 7-1 game. WVU Tech responded with their own two-run shot in the bottom of the inning to make it 7-3, but the relievers for both sides shut down any remaining offense in the contest, ending the game 7-3 in seven innings. 

Jared Campbell collected another three RBI’s to lead the team again thanks to his three run homer. Brito followed suit with two RBI’s. Junior starting pitcher Joathan Rivera threw for five innings in game two and gave up only four hits on his way to his third win of the season. Senior reliever Jose Moreno and Rodriguez both pitched an inning to close out the game and allowed only three hits between the two of them. 

Game three was pure dominance for the Pioneers as they scored early and often. In the top of the first, sophomore catcher Jordon Campbell and Brito scored a pair with a sacrifice groundout and a single to center field to jump ahead 2-0. Oakley went deep for the second time in the series and knocked a solo shot in the second to make it a 3-0 ball game. The Golden Bears tied the game up quickly after they scored a run with a single in the bottom of the second, and another pair in the third with a double and a single to make it 3-3.

It was the fourth inning when the Pioneers’ offense woke the sleeping beast and rallied. Starting with a pair of bases loaded walks, the Pioneers lit up the Golden Bears for 12 runs in the top of the fourth alone, boosted by a grand slam to right off the bat of junior outfielder Carlos Burroughs to end the inning ahead 15-3. Point Park tacked on two more runs in the fifth with a two-run RBI single from Jared Campbell and a sacrifice fly from junior infielder Eddie Javier Jr. to make it 17-3, which remained the score until the final inning.

Jared Campbell went three-for-four at the plate, to collect three runs and a pair of RBI’s in the dominant victory. Burroughs went two-for-five with his grand slam leading the way in RBI’s, and also scored twice. Brito went three-for-four in the game and grabbed three RBIs and a run to help boost his offensive stats this season. Sophomore starting pitcher Javier Cardoso, who was named RSC pitcher of the week on March 14, went four-and-a-third innings and punched out six on way to his third win. The combination of four different relievers for the Pioneers through the final two-and-two-thirds innings yielded only a single hit and struck out five in the final game of the series. 

The Pioneers will return home to Pittsburgh this week to participate in their first home series of the season at Wild Things Park in Washington, PA as they take on the number 17 ranked Georgetown College Tigers on March 21 in a three game series before publication, and the Brescia University Bobcats on March 24 and 25 in a three game RSC series. 

“It’s amazing anytime you get to play in a nice facility like Wild Things Park,” said Klein. “We’re very fortunate to be able to play at Wild Things Park, but as a player when you walk into the stadium and you see the stadium seating and the Jumbotron, it’s a surreal feeling that you’re about to play at a professional baseball stadium.” 

The team will then travel to Mont Alto, PA, to take on the Penn State-Mont Alto Nittany Lions on March 27 in a double header. Their previously scheduled games against Cleary University have been rescheduled to April 25. The games will be streamable through the Point Park Athletics website, as well as any future schedule changes.