Point Park splits games at Cedarville to end regular season at 39-14 overall
May 2, 2013 at 11:00 p.m. ET
Nathan Sphon got the win in four scoreless innings of Game 2 at Cedarville. Photo by Lyddia Ankrom.
CEDARVILLE, Ohio -- No. 21 Point Park University will enter the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round with an overall record of 39-14 after splitting two tightly contested games at NCAA Division II Cedarville to end the regular season on Thursday.
The Pioneers, wanting to add games in between their KIAC Tournament championship last weekend and the start of the national tournament May 9, lost the first game at Cedarville (23-14), 5-4, and then won the second game, 3-0.
Point Park had its 12-game winning streak stopped in the opener, but it had three pitchers combine on a five-hit shutout in the nightcap. It was sophomore Nathan Sphon (4-4) who got the start and the win in four innings of Game 2.
Sphon, a lefty from Greensburg, Pa., gave up only three hits in four scoreless innings, struck out five and walked zero versus a Yellow Jackets team that is at the top of the standings for the NCAA DII Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
The bullpen took care of the rest with freshman Michael Cetta giving up one hit and striking out two in a scoreless fifth and closer Ryan Loutsenhizer, a senior, tossing the final two innings to get his sixth save of the year.
Loutsenhizer got a double play to end the game although the Yellow Jackets were threatening in the bottom of the seventh when a one-out walk loaded the bases. The inning had started with a couple of singles.
Point Park had only five hits in the second game, and junior third baseman Tyler Cattapan had two of them. He was 2 for 2 with an RBI double in the top of the first, which followed a single by Chaz Russo. Cattapan got the start at third and batted No. 3 in the lineup since KIAC Player of the Year Jordan Crowell was among the players who had to stay back at campus for final exams.
Sphon had just a 1-0 lead when he left after four innings, but the Pioneers padded the lead with two runs in the fifth. Javy Marticorena drove in a run with a single, and three batters later Tom Birko walked with the bases loaded to force in a run.
Point Park had four hits versus Cedarville starter Ryan Ledbetter, who gave up no earned runs in four innings. Ledbetter's brother, David, got the start for Cedarville in Game 1, and the pro prospect left the game after 3.1 innings and the score tied 3-3.
Trailing, 3-1, to start the fourth, Point Park evened the score when Tom Pasinski stroked a two-run single. Pasinski had scored Point Park's earlier run in the third when he walked, moved to third on a couple of bunts and came home on a wild pitch.
A walk and a hit batter in the Cedarville fourth ended the outing of Point Park starter Isaiah Marsh, who took the loss in 3.1 innings. Cedarville took advantage versus the Point Park bullpen with RBI singles by David Lenhardt and Ryan Ledbetter to take a 5-3 lead.
Point Park cut the lead to 5-4 on Yale Sanford's pinch hit RBI in the sixth, and it had the tying run on base with two outs in the seventh but could not come up with the run to tie.
Point Park, which won the KIAC Tournament last weekend, is off until the NAIA Baseball National Championship scheduled for May 9-13 at campus sites around the country. The Pioneers will learn of their seed and location May 5 when the brackets are announced by the NAIA.
Cedarville is just the second team to beat Point Park since March 23. The Pioneers are 30-3 since then, and they moved up four spots to No. 21 in the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll this week (April 30).