Point Park baseball drops two games to wrap up opening series at Bryan (Tenn.)
Feb. 22, 2014
DAYTON, Tenn. -- The fifth inning turned the tide in favor of Bryan (Tenn.) College in both games of a non-conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday (Feb. 22) as the host Lions beat Point Park University, 6-2 and 5-4.
Bryan (7-8) scored five runs in the fifth inning of Game 1 to up its lead to 6-0. In Game 2, Point Park's 2-1 lead turned into a 5-2 deficit when the Lions put up a four-spot in the bottom of the fifth.
After the season-opening series, Point Park is now 1-3. The Pioneers' opening-weekend trips continues Sunday at No. 8 Tennessee Wesleyan (4-7-1) at 2 p.m. ET, which is a matchup of NAIA preseason Top 25 teams. Point Park is No. 19 in the preseason poll.
Watch Live No. 19 Point Park at No. 8 Tennessee Wesleyan on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. ET with live streaming video and stats courtesy of TWC. Tennessee Wesleyan was the 2012 NAIA World Series champion.
Point Park made some big fielding errors that contributed to Bryan's big fifth innings in both games. Point Park Game 1 starter Alex Mateo had struck out six and given up just one run through the first four innings before getting into trouble in the fifth.
Two singles and two errors got the rally started for Bryan in the fifth inning of Game 1. Kevin Roberts followed with an RBI double to make the score 2-0, and Grant Zawadzki followed two batters later with an RBI single.
With the score 4-0, Mateo was lifted with one out in favor of reliever Zach Zimmerman. Zimmerman stuck out the first batter he faced, but Crandon Wallace delivered a big, two-RBI double with two outs to stretch things out to 6-2. That made those two runs of the five in the inning unearned.
Point Park manufactured a couple of runs in the next half inning -- the top of the sixth -- to pull within 6-2. Tom Birko led off with a single, move to second on a wild pitch, went to third on a fly out and scored on Jordan Crowell's ground out.
Oscar Romero was then hit by a pitch, moved to second on Kasey Clinton's base hit and scored on Ossie Alfonzo's single.
But Point Park did not have much else offensively as three of their four hits in the game came in that sixth-inning rally. Bryan starter Tristan Speak went all seven innings with two strikeouts and four walks.
Game 2 was scoreless the first three innings before Clinton, a senior DH from DuBois, Pa., hit a two-run homer with Romero on to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead in the fourth.
Bryan got its first run versus Point Park starter Nathan Sphon in the bottom half of the inning before taking control with four runs in the fifth, albeit with more help from the Point Park defense.
Bryan's rally started with two singles and a two-run double by Roberts as the Lions jumped in front, 3-2. Sphon had a chance to keep the Pioneers within a run, but an infield error kept the inning going long enough for Zawadzki to stroke a two-run single for a 5-2 lead. Because Zawadzki's single came with two outs, it made two of the four runs that inning unearned.
Sphon ended up being charged with five runs (two earned) in five innings while Game 1 starter Mateo was charged with six runs (four earned) in 4.1 innings. Zimmerman came on in relief in both games with two hits and two strikeouts in a combined 2.2 innings of work on the day.
Down 5-2 in Game 2, Point Park made some noise in its final two times at bats although it left two runners on in the sixth and the bases loaded in the seventh.
Three straight singles to start the sixth, the third of which was by Clinton, produced a run in the sixth. Clinton was 2 for 4 with a HR and two RBIs, but Bryan reliever Ike Myers got out of the jam that had runners at first and second with no outs.
In the seventh, Birko and Javy Marticorena each drew one-out walks, and Crowell singled to load the bases. Romero followed with an RBI single although only one run scored to keep the score 5-4 with the bases loaded and one out. Then Kenny Knudsen, Bryan's second reliever in as many innings, retired the next two batters to leave three stranded.
After visiting Tennessee Wesleyan on Sunday, Point Park is scheduled to play a non-conference doubleheader at West Virginia Tech on Monday, Feb. 24 at 12 p.m. to conclude the four-day road trip.