Point Park ranked No. 19 in 2014 NAIA Baseball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll
Nov. 12, 2013 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Senior Tom Birko and the Pioneers have another NAIA baseball preseason Top 25 ranking.
PITTSBURGH -- The Point Park University baseball team is ranked No. 19 in the 2014 NAIA Baseball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll released by the NAIA office on Tuesday (Nov. 12, 2013).
"We are thankful to continue to be respected by the NAIA baseball coaches," Point Park's fifth-year head coach Loren Torres said of the preseason ranking. "We have worked hard on the recruiting end to put ourselves in a position to be successful each year. We are excited to get on the field and show we can get it done between the white lines."
The Pioneers, who are coming off a record of 39-16 overall and 14-6 KIAC in 2013, ended last season at No. 23 in NAIA Top 25 after a second straight trip to the NAIA national tournament. The Pioneers won the KIAC Tournament and led the NAIA in team batting average at .341.
The Pioneers have won 92 games the last two years and still have several players returning from those teams in 2014. Point Park will welcome back 5 of 9 positions starters and 3 of 4 starting pitchers from the 2013 team.
Point Park also still has many players from its NAIA World Series run of 2012, and it will look to get back to Lewiston, Idaho, in 2014. The Pioneers still have two starting pitchers who started in the World Series -- RHP Manny Perdomo and LHP Nathan Sphon -- as well as RHP Isaiah Marsh, who had an extended outing in relief in the World Series.
Among top position players for the Pioneers are junior third baseman Jordan Crowell, the KIAC Player of the Year of 2013 and a 2014 NAIA Preseason All-American infielder. Crowell was the NAIA national leader in batting average at .441 last year.
Other top position players returning are senior infielder/outfielder Tom Birko, senior infielder Chaz Russo, senior catcher Ossie Alfonzo and senior DH/outfielder Javy Marticorena.
The Pioneers are ranked in the preseason for the second year in a row. Point Park has been in the NAIA Top 25 for much of the last three seasons, and they ended the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons as a ranked team in the final poll. Point Park has been to the NAIA World Series 11 times, which is tied for fifth all-time.
Point Park has two ranked preseason NAIA Top 25 teams on its 2014 schedule, which is available for download at the link above. The Pioneers play at preseason No. 8 and 2012 NAIA World Series champion Tennessee Wesleyan Feb. 23 and visit No. 23 Georgetown (Ky.) March 16.
Point Park's schedule will include 12 games at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, where some of the top teams gather in Winter Haven, Fla. Opponents there are still TBA.
Point Park has 55 regular season games scheduled for 2014. There will be a four-game series versus each of the other KIAC teams for a total of 20 conference games. Point Park will visit IU Southeast and Brescia and welcome Berea, Alice Lloyd and Asbury each for a four-game set.