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NAIA Opening Rd Game Recap

No. 19 Point Park eliminated from NAIA tourney with 4-1 loss to Benedictine (IL)

May 10, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. ET

The Pioneers shake hands with Benedictine-Springfield (IL) after being eliminated. Photo by Dan Kovach.



KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- No. 19-ranked Point Park University could not avoid elimination on Day 2 of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round as the Pioneers lost to unranked Benedictine-Springfield (IL), 4-1, in the first elimination game of the Kingsport Bracket on Friday morning.

Benedictine-Springfield (24-24) stayed alive after scoring three of its four runs in the bottom of the first. And with the ealry lead, winning pitcher Jordan Pesko (8-2) went all nine innings and limited the Pioneers (39-16) to one run on nine hits, three strikeouts and two walks.

Pesko opened the game with five shut-out innings. Point Park did cut it to 4-1 in the sixth when Marlon Leyva beat out an infield single to drive in a run with two outs. But the Pioneers needed three hits to get that run, their only one of the game.

Point Park left nine on base and left 22 total runners stranded in their two NAIA national tournament games. The Pioneers were sent to the loser's bracket with an opening loss to No. 20-Missouri Baptist, 13-6, on Thursday.

Point Park, the No. 2 seed, got the tying run to the on-deck circle in the top of the ninth, but Pesko got his third punch out to end the game and send the No. 5 seed Benedictine-Springfield into Friday night's game versus No. 4 seed Taylor (Ind.).

The Pioneers' Manny Perdomo (6-3) took the loss in 5.1 innings. He settled into a big groove after giving up the early runs and ended up yielding four runs (three earned) on eight hits, seven strikeouts and one walk. After giving up the three-spot in the first, Perdomo retired 11 of the next 12 he faced including eight in a row.

With Perdomo doing his best to hold the deficit, Point Park was unable to get runners around to score, although they had their share of base runners. Point Park had the lead-off man aboard in the second, third and fourth innings, but all three were erased before two were out on two pickoffs and a double play.

Point Park left two runners on in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings as the score remained 4-1. A combination of Pesko staying ahead in the count and some great plays behind him on defense kept the Pioneers off the board.

Bulldogs shortstop Jared Klay made a great play on a ball up the middle on Tom Birko's grounder to strand two runners in the sixth. Two innings later, center fielder Jordan Day made a long, running catch to take away extra bases from Don McDuffee on a ball in the right-center gap. That was with two on base.

Point Park set-up man Josh Brooks and closer Ryan Loutsenhizer combined to give up no runs on one hit in 2.2 innings covered by the bullpen.

Chaz Russo, Jordan Crowell and Rob Novia were each 2 for 4 to account for six of Point Park's nine hits. Zane Dillon and Travis Combs were each 2 for 4 at the top of the Benedictine order, and they got the top of the first started off two sinlges, the second of which put runners at first and third on a hit-and-run.

Tommy Jennings followed with a sacrifice fly, and after a hit batter, David Maziar stroked an RBI single. Klay delivered an RBI double to make it 3-0.

Point Park ends the year at 39-16 after an second consecutive trip to the NAIA national tournament. It was the 12th national tournament appearance in the history of Point Park baseball. Point Park won 92 games the last two years when combined with last year's 53-11 final record.

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