No. 22 Point Park sweeps Berea (Ky.) to win KIAC Baseball Reg. Season title
April 18, 2014
Tom Birko moved into second place on the Point Park career hit list with four hits on Friday. Photo by Matt Compomizzi.
BEREA, Ky. -- No. 22 Point Park University beat Berea (Ky.) College in both ends of a baseball doubleheader on Friday, 7-0 and 13-6, to win the KIAC regular season title for the second year in a row.
Point Park (35-13, 16-4 KIAC) completed the regular season and secured the No. 1 seed in the KIAC Baseball Tournament April 23-26 in Kingsport, Tenn., by locking up first place by 2.0 games over the rest of the conference.
Friday's doubleheader sweep of Berea (20-21, 8-12 KIAC) included a long list of team and individual accomplishments, highlights and records.
The 16 KIAC victories this year set a team record, two more than last year. Friday's wins also gave the Pioneers 14 consecutive KIAC wins and a 19-2 record since March 27.
There was plenty of hitting for Point Park all day long, highlighted by senior second baseman Tom Birko, who was 2 for 2 with two walks in each game, and moved into second place on the Pioneers' all-time, career hit list. The native of Kennedy Twp., Pa., now has 210 career hits and trails only Mike D. Smith with 216 from 1997-00. (see below for leaders).
In the second game, senior pitcher Manny Perdomo got the victory in five innings of work to improve to 7-1 on the year and 20-4 in his career. Perdomo, from Miami, Fla., is just the sixth pitcher in Point Park history to reach 20 career wins. (see below for leaders).
Perdomo was saved for Game 2 on Friday in case the Pioneers needed to rely on their ace to clinch the KIAC regular season title in the final game. But the pitching was in good hands for the first game as sophomore Alex Mateo threw his fourth 1-hitter of the year to shutout Berea and secure the conference.
Other highlights of the day included junior third baseman Michael DeJesus going 4 for 4 with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs to power the Pioneers to a 13-6 win in Game 2. That game also included Javy Marticorena going 3 for 3 with two doubles and two RBIs and Oscar Romero going 3 for 3 with three RBIs.
DeJesus and Romero also had big performances in Game 1 going 3 for 4 and 2 for 3, respectively. Yuliecer Arias was another leading hitter in the first game going 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Overall, the Pioneers had their full talents on display on the final day of the regular season and will now look ahead to the KIAC Tournament as the defending champions. The Pioneers will have a bye in the first round of the six-team, double-elimination tournament. Point Park's first playoff game will be Thursday, April 24 at 11 a.m. versus an opponent TBA.
The Pioneers wasted no time getting started on Friday as Birko led off Game 1 with a triple and was driven in by Arias' groundout. In the third inning, Birko and Arias both singled to set the stage for four straight RBI hits -- singles by Marticorena, Romero and DeJesus and a double by Jordan Crowell. That gave the Pioneers a 5-0 lead.
Mateo struck out eight, gave up just the one hit and shook off five walks to improve to 6-2. The Miami, Fla., native took a no-hitter into the fifth inning. His four 1-hitters on the year have come versus Viterbo (Wis.), IU Southeast, Alice Lloyd (Ky.) and Berea (Ky.).
In Game 2, Point Park had plenty of offense to make up for Berea taking a 6-2 lead with six runs in the second inning. The Mountaineers had four of their five hits versus Perdomo in that inning and also took advantage of two errors.
DeJesus' fifth homer was a two-run shot in the third that scored Romero to cut the lead to 6-5. Romero had stroked an RBI single earlier in the inning. Romero and DeJesus were at it again in the fourth when they followed walks to Birko and Marticorena with a pair of RBI base hits to put the Pioneers in front, 7-6.
Point Park broke the game open with six runs in the fifth inning for the 13-6 lead. The inning started with a pair of walks, and the middle of the order made Berea pay with four hits in a row that drove in runs -- singles by Arias, Marticorena and Romero and a two-run double by DeJesus. Ossie Alfonzo later had an RBI single to finish things off.
Perdomo got the win in five innings. He gave up five hits, struck out six and walked six. Jon Corcoran pitched a scoreless sixth, and Toby Eigner did the same in the ninth.
Check back later for Box Scores & Updated Season Statistics.
POINT PARK UNIVERSITY BASEBALL
Career Hits Leaders
1. Mike D. Smith 216 (1997-00)
2. TOM BIRKO 210 (2010-PRESENT)
3. Rob Dinwoodie 209 (1997-00)
4. Ryan Ellis 207 (1997-00)
5. Rocco Leffakis 206 (1993-96)
Career Wins Leaders
T1. Bryan Neal 24 (1994-97), Cory Hartsburg 24 (1988-91)
T3. Rob Fester 23 (1985-87), Mike Curphery 23 (1996-99)
5. Sean Clark 21 (2011-13)
6. MANNY PERDOMO 20 (2012-PRESENT)
7. Derek Peluso 19 (2009-12)