No. 19 Point Park loses to No. 20 Missouri Baptist, 13-6, in NAIA Opening Round
May 9, 2013 at 11:30 p.m. ET
Ryan Gunhouse and Missouri Baptist banged out 20 hits in the 13-6 win over Point Park. Photo by Dan Kovach.
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- No. 19-ranked Point Park University had 10 hits, scored six runs against a good pitcher and had plenty of chances but didn't have enough on the scoreboard as No. 20 Missouri Baptist won, 13-6, in the first game of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round in the Kingsport (TN) Bracket.
No. 2 seed Point Park (39-15) drops to the loser's bracket where it will play No. 5 seed Benedictine-Springfield (IL) (23-24) on Friday, May 10 at 11 a.m. with the loser being eliminated.
Missouri Baptist (32-11), the No. 3 seed in the five-team regional site, banged out 20 hits and put up 13 runs, both of which were season-highs given up by Point Park. The Spartans had eight starters with two or more hits as they got hitting up and down the lineup versus three Pioneers' pitchers.
To be sure, Point Park had plenty of chances on its own but could not cash in, particularly early, as it fell behind, 7-1, by the time the hour-long rain delay arrived as it was coming to bat in the bottom of the fourth. Point Park did its best to peck away at the lead getting within 9-4 and 11-6, but it never got the big hit or the big inning when it needed it.
The Pioneers left 13 men on base, which was three more than Missouri Baptist. The Pioneers got six runs and 10 hits versus a talented pitcher Ethan Gibbons, who improved to 11-0 in 12 starts and had a 1.67 ERA entering the day. Even with the five walks and four hit battes allowed by Gibbons, the Pioneers didn't make him pay as he limited the damage.
Jordan Crowell was 2 for 4 with three RBIs, and Rob Novia was 2 for 3 with two RBIs to lead Point Park. Crowell had a big, RBI double in the sixth to cut the lead to 9-4, and Novia had an important, two-run single in the seventh to make it 11-6, but both times the Pioneers had the rally cut short and could get no closer.
Don McDuffee was 2 for 5 to increase his team-high hit total to 77, which is seven shy of tying the Point Park record of 84 hits in the single season. Marlon Leyva hit his seventh homer of the year, a line drive, solo shot to left center that gave Point Park hope at 9-3 in the fifth.
Missouri Baptist, which advances to play No. 1 seed Tennessee Wesleyan in the winner's bracket final Friday at 2:30 p.m., had its table setters on base all day, and got the big RBIs from the middle and end of the order. Lead-off man Patrick Johnson was 3 for 4 with four runs, and No. 2 hitter Ryan Gunhouse was 2 for 4 with three runs and two RBIs.
Pier Olivier-Dostaler was 4 for 6 while Joseph Taylor and Garrett Vail each had two hits and two RBIs. Joe Stropp added a 3-for-5 performance, and Dan Harper was 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Harper had a big, two-run homer to increase the lead to 9-2 in the fifth after Point Park had cut into th lead.
Another big hit that added on late was Gunhouse's two-run double in the seventh to bump the advantage up to 11-4.
Sean Clark (6-5) got the start for Point Park and took the loss in four innings. Clark did not return after the rain delay came in the bottom of the fourth. Toby Eigner pitched two innings, and Isaiah Marsh three out of the Pioneers' bullpen.
Gibbons threw 135 pitches in seven innings with eight strikeouts, five walks and four hit batters. He gave up six runs on nine hits, but the Pioneers were never able to string more than a couple hits together in any inning.
Friday's game with Benedictine-Springfield (IL) will be broadcast by the Point Park Sports Network. Watch Live at www.iHigh.com/PointParkSportsNetwork. Pre-game show at 10:45 p.m. ET
Benedictine-Springfield, the champions of the American Midwest Conference, lost to No. 4 Taylor (Ind.), 10-2, in the first game of the day Thursday. The Bulldogs are just a couple of years removed from being a junior-college program and are in the NAIA national tournament for the first time.
The Bulldogs don't rank in the top 30 of the NAIA in any category although they hit a solid .293 as a team. Benedictine-Springfield has a relatively high team ERA of 5.43, but it still has junior right-hander Jordan Pesko yet to work in the tournament. He has good numbers at 7-2 with a 1.93 ERA in a team-high 74.2 innings.
Benedictine-Springfield has just two players hitting above .309 and has five players hitting above .300 in the starting lineup. Lead-off hitter 2B Zane Dillon has the highest average by far at .374 with one homer and 27 RBIs. 3B Tommy Jennings hits third and entered the tournament at .320 with four homers and 35 RBIs. LF Brett Beckett is the cleanup man, and he hits .305 with a team-high six homers to go with 28 RBIs.