No. 19 Point Park beats PSU-Greater Allegheny in twice in 2014 home openers
March 19, 2014 at 9:45 p.m. ET
Michael DeJesus had the game-winning single in Game 1, a 4-3 win for Point Park. Photo by Lauren Jones.
PITTSBURGH -- NAIA No. 19-ranked Point Park University beat Penn State-Greater Allegheny, 4-3 and 9-2, in its 2014 baseball home openers at Point Park Field at Green Tree Park on Wednesday afternoon.
The Pioneers (16-7, 4-0 KIAC) erased a 3-0 deficit in Game 1 by scoring all four of its runs in the bottom of the seventh. Michael DeJesus, a junior infielder from Miami, Fla., had a the game-winning single, a base hit to center that capped the four-run rally.
Trailing 3-0 going into its last at bat, Point Park's Javy Marticorena led off the seventh with a double. Two batters later, Oscar Romero banged a 1-out double off the wall in right field to make the score 3-1. A wild pitch moved pinch runner Zach Zimmerman up to third base, and the next batter, Kasey Clinton, was hit by a pitch to put runners at the corners.
That's when Point Park used its speed to take the lead and the game. During the next at bat, Zimmerman scored on the back end of a double steal in which fellow pinch runner Shane Conley stole second. That made the score 3-2 with two outs.
Then Stefan Mrkonja, a freshman outfielder from Hopewell High School, came up with a clutch base hit, a single to right field to score the tying run. That brought up DeJesus for the game-winning RBI, which was set up by Mrkonja swiping second base to get into scoring position.
The rally made a winner out of freshman pitcher Jake Horew, who would have been the tough-luck loser without the comeback. Horew, a right-hander from Chartiers Valley High School, improved to 3-0 and kept its ERA at 0.00 by throwing a complete game. The three runs he gave up were all unearned, and he scattered five hits, struck out seven and walked two.
Horew entered Wednesday having thrown a shutout in each of the first two starts of his collegiate career. Now through three games, he has extended his streak to 21 straight innings without giving up an earned run. That matches teammate Alex Mateo, who also has a current such streak.
A double and an error gave PSU-Greater Allegheny a 1-0 lead in the second inning. In the fifth, the Lions got two more on the board as a run came home on a two-out error and also on Aaron McGee's base hit.
Point Park, which was being shut out on two hits the first six innings, got four of its six hits in the seventh. PSU-Greater Allegheny starter McGee went three scoreless innings and gave up only two hits. Reliever Eric Schell went the next three innings without giving up a hit or run, but he got into trouble in the seventh being charged with three runs on two hits and a hit batter.
Point Park took control of Game 2 with a couple of crooked numbers on the board. The Pioneers staked a 3-1 lead with three runs in the third as a double by Clinton, a walk to Mrkonja and single by Conley loaded the bases with no outs. DeJesus followed with a hit by pitch to force in a run, and Yuliecer Arias grounded into fielder's choice for one of his two RBIs.
Tom Birko capped off the inning with an RBI single, and the senior second baseman from Kennedy Twp., Pa., was 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Birko also added a run-scoring single in the fifth to bump the lead to 4-1.
After PSU-Greater Allegheny cut the lead to 4-2 with a run in the top of the sixth, Point park was looking for insurance runs in its half of the inning. The Pioneers ended up with a five-run outburst highlighted by Ossie Alfonzo's RBI base hit and Conley's two-run single.
Birko also added a sacrifice fly to make it 9-2. And after the end of the sixth, the game ended as rain showers fell down. The win gave the Pioneers 12 victories in their last 13 games and improved the season-long win streak to seven games.
Jarrad Brown, a sophomore right-hander from Erie, Pa., got his first win in a Point Park uniform. The transfer from PSU-Behrend started and went all six innings while scattering six hits, striking out three and walking none. Only one of the two runs he gave up was earned.
Point Park gets back into KIAC play with a four-game series at second-place Brescia (18-9, 3-1 KIAC) on Friday and Saturday. The Pioneers lead the KIAC at 4-0 after the first weekend.
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