Point Park pounds IU Southeast to advance to KIAC Tournament finals
April 26, 2014
Senior RHP Jon Corcoran got the victory in 5.0 innings of relief on Friday. Photo by Sam Robinson.
WATCH LIVE -- KIAC Baseball Tournament Finals, Saturday, April 26 at 1 pm: #1 Point Park vs. #3 IU Southeast
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- Top seed Point Park University pounded IU Southeast, 17-4, on Friday (April 25) at the KIAC Baseball Tournament at Hunter Wright Stadium to advance to the championship round of the six-team, double-elimination tournament.
The Pioneers (37-13) will play No. 3 seed IU Southeast (32-22) again in the finals as the Grenadiers scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth of the loser's bracket final to beat Alice Lloyd, 9-8, in a game that ended at 12:50 a.m. early Saturday morning.
Point Park and IU Southeast will play the championship round beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Point Park needs one victory of its second straight KIAC Tournament title while IU Southeast has to beat Point Park twice. If necessary, a second game will be played at 4 p.m. Point Park is unbeaten in two tournament games while IU Southeast is 3-1 in four games.
Neither starting pitcher lasted more than two innings in the Point Park-IU Southeast matchup on Friday as it turned into a battle of the bullpens early on. For Point Park, reliever Jon Corcoran came in with no outs in the third inning and proceeded to throw five innings ang give up just one run on four hits.
Corcoran, a senior right-hander from Fox Chapel, entered the game in a jam and Point Park leading, 4-2. He left the game with Point Park up 17-3 after seven innings. Jake Horew and Jarrad Brown pitched the eighth and ninth, respectively, to get some work in with the big lead.
It was a huge spot for Corcoran, who got the win to improve to 4-1. He is the setup man in the Pioneers' bullpen, but he stepped up in a big moment to work an extended outing when the Pioneers needed him. He struck out two and walked one in the 20 batters he faced.
And with Corcoran holding down the IU Southeast bats, the Point Park bats were alive all game long. The Pioneers banged out 17 runs on 21 hits and scored 12 earned runs. The Grenadiers did commit four errors, but the Pioneers made them pay by backing it up with hits.
Sophomore center fielder Shane Conley broke the game open with a solo homer to right field -- his first of the year -- to make the score 7-2. IU Southeast was still within striking distance down five in the middle innings before Point Park scored four runs on five hits in the sixth and then got five more in the seventh with the highlight being Ossie Alfonzo's two-run homer.
Alfonzo, a senior catcher from Miami, Fla., led the hitting by going 4 for 6 with a homer and three RBIs. Conley was 2 for 4 with his homer and three RBIs. Javy Marticorena went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, and Yuliecer Arias was 3 for 6 with a double and two RBIs.
Tom Birko stroked two base hits in five at bats to increase his career hit total to 214, just two shy of tying and three away from passing Mike D. Smith (1997-00) for the Point Park baseball all-time, career hits record.
IU Southeast used five pitchers, the first of which was starter Greg Laughlin for 1.2 innings. Michael Fitzwater then threw 3.2 innings while giving up seven runs (all earned) on 10 hits as the lead was 11-2 when he left.
Point Park starter Isaiah Marsh did not fair well in his outing going 2.0 innings. He gave up three hits and two runs but was pulled after a string of walks. He walked five total batters.
Marsh was in a major jam in the second as four straight walks brought in a run to make the score 4-2 as the bases remained loaded. A wild pitch by Marsh went off the backstop, and Alfonzo made an excellent play to get the ball to Marsh, who was covering home.
That resulted in IU Southeast's Tyler Adams being nailed at the plate trying to score from third. In what was a heated moment for both teams, the umpired proceeded to have a conference with each of the head coaches individually. During his talk with IU Southeast coach Ben Reel, which came after talking to Point Park coach Loren Torres, Reel was ejected.
Although Reel had to miss the game versus Alice Lloyd later that night due to NAIA suspension rules, his team survived to set up the rematch with Point Park in the championship round. Point Park beat IU Southeast in the KIAC finals last year when the tournament was hosted by IU Southeast.
Point Park, ranked No. 23 in the NAIA Top 25, is seeking its third-straight NAIA national tournament appearance, which will be given the KIAC Tournament champion automatically. The national tournament begins with the NAIA National Championship Opening Round May 12-15 at campus sites around the country.
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