No. 19 Point Park finishes off sweep of IU Southeast behind Mateo, Sphon
March 15, 2014 at 5:45 p.m. ET
Alex Mateo threw his second 1-hitter in a row in Game 1 at IU Southeast on Saturday. Photo by Jackie Eigner
NEW ALBANY, Ind. -- Pitching highlighted the day as No. 19 Point Park University baseball finished off a four-game sweep of IU Southeast by winning both ends of the doubleheader, 7-1 and 2-1, on Saturday.
Sophomore right-hander Alex Mateo pitched his second 1-hitter in a row as the Pioneers (14-7, 4-0 KIAC) won the first game, 7-1. Junior left-hander Nathan Sphon then pitched six shutout innings, and Toby Eigner got the save as Point Park won the nightcap, 2-1.
Point Park won all four games of the KIAC opening series versus IU Southeast (10-13, 0-4 KIAC), which was picked to finish second in the KIAC preseason poll, right behind Point Park. The Pioneers won the first two games, 26-6 and 9-6, on Friday.
Point Park's pitchers did not give up an earned run on Saturday, and the starting pitchers gave up just four earned runs the whole series.
Mateo (3-1) went all seven innings, and the only hit he gave up was a bloop, infield single that landed between first base and home plate. That came in the bottom of the first and was the only thing that kept him from notching a no-hitter. Mateo also had a 1-hitter in his last out, a shutout of Viterbo on March 7, in which a low liner fell in in right field early on.
Mateo, from Miami, Fla., struck out six and walked one. He had two straight shutouts entering Saturday, so with his win over IU Southeast, he extended to 21 his streak of consecutive innings without giving up an earned run. Two infield errors put a runner at third in IU Southeast's last at bat, and the only run scored on a double-play that followed.
After its huge offensive day on Friday, the Pioneers got right back at it with three runs in the top of the first of Game 1 on Saturday. Right fielder Javy Marticorena ripped an RBI double, and Jordan Crowell drove in two with a base hit. Marticorena was 2 for 4 with four RBIs, and Crowell was 2 for 4.
Stefan Mrkonja doubled and scored on Tom Birko's RBI single in the second as the Pioneers went up, 4-0. The lead grew to 6-0 when Marticorena, from Miami, Fla., stroked a two-run single. Earlier in the inning, DeJesus doubled, and Arias and Birko both walked.
Birko, who was 2 for 2, added an RBI single in the sixth to pad the lead to 7-0. DeJesus finished 2 for 3 with three runs, and Arias scored two runs and got an RBI. Point Park totaled nine hits in Game 1 and 16 for the day.
Different than the first three games of the series, Sphon (2-1) led the Pioneers to a win in a pitcher's duel in the final game. He blanked IU Southeast on two hits, no walks and two strikeouts over his six innings. The Greensburg, Pa., native held on to a 1-0 lead by leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the third.
Tom Birko, who was 2 for 3 with an RBI, knocked in a run with a base hit in the top of the fifth to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead. Yuliecer Arias, who was 3 for 4 and scored the first run on an error in the first, doubled to start the Point Park fifth. Pinch runner Jake Horew came around to score on Birko's single.
Eigner, a senior closer from Marathon, Fla., picked up his third save of the year by pitching the last of the seventh. A one-out error got a rally started for the Grenadiers, and Brian Crider's pinch-hit single cut it to 2-1 and put runners at first and third.
But Eigner got the next two batters on a called third strike and a fly out in foul territory to strand the tying and go-ahead runs on base. The run was unearned.
Point Park, which has won 10 of its past 11 games and five in a row overall, continue their weekend road trip at No. 23 Georgetown (Ky.) on Sunday at 12 p.m. Follow Live Stats via Dakstats: LIVE STATS