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Baseball Recap

No. 19 Point Park wins 1 of 2 versus Madonna (Mich.) on Day 2 of Florida trip

March 2, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. ET

Point Park pictured above after the 5-0 win over Madonna (Mich.) in Game 1 of the doubleheader.. Photo by Ryan Streno.



WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Neither starting pitcher for No. 19 Point Park University baseball gave up an earned run, but the Pioneers had to settle for a doubleheader split versus Madonna (Mich.) University at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on Sunday.

Alex Mateo (1-1) tossed a shutout as the Pioneers (4-5) won the first game, 5-0, but they lost the nightcap, 6-4, in eight innings despite the fact that starter Nathan Sphon (0-1) did not give up an earned run in 6.1 innings of work.

Point Park made four errors in Game 2, and the 4-2 lead that Madonna built against Sphon was made up entirely of unearned runs. Point Park did come up with two clutch runs in the bottom of the sixth to force extra innings at 4-4, but Madonna (9-5) scored the eventual winning runs in the top of the eighth.

Mateo, a sophomore right-hander from Miami, Fla., made his second start of the year and got his first win in a Point Park uniform since transferring from Broward (Fla.) College. He struck out three, walked none and got 10 ground ball outs, a few of which got him out of some of jams.

It wasn't until the top of the seventh that the Point Park offense stretched the lead out to 5-0 with three runs in that inning. Mateo protected the 2-0 lead and kept the shutout in tact even though Madonna had runners at second and third with one out in both the fourth and sixth innings. Both times, Mateo used his defense to get out of the tight spot.

Point Park had nine hits in Game 1 with Yuliecer Arias, Javy Marticorena and Ossie Alfonzo collecting two hits apiece. Marticorena had two RBIs. His single in the fifth padded the lead to 2-0, and his RBI base hit keyed the three-run seventh. The other two runs in the seventh came home on errors.

Point Park's Michael DeJesus ripped a two-out double in the second to open the scoring for a 1-0 lead.

In Game 2, Sphon allowed only two base runners the first four innings, and the Pioneers were up, 1-0, when Madonna came to bat in the fifth. Point Park made three of their four errors in that inning as the Crusaders put up three unearned runs.

Another Point Park error started the Madonna sixth. That was followed by two singles as the Crusaders tacked on another unearned run for a 4-2 lead.

The Pioneers tied it up at 4-4 in their half of the sixth with a hit batter, a single and an infield error bringing home the first run and DeJesus' sacrifice fly accounting for the other run.

Point Park and Madonna each had nine hits in Game 2, and Tom Birko went 4 for 4 with a double and two runs for the Pioneers. Tyler Cattapan was the only other Pioneers player with two hits and went 2 for 4.

Sphon struck out two, walked one and gave up six hits in hits outing of 6.1 innings. He got 11 of the 19 outs on groundballs.

Point Park continues its stay in Florida with two more games on Monday. The Pioneers play Cornerstone (Mich.) at 9:30 a.m. and face Evangel (Mo.) at 12 p.m. for a pair of NAIA non-conference games.

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