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Baseball America picks Point Park fifth in NAIA in its 2013 Small College Preview

Feb. 7, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Point Park 2B Tom Birko (left) in an NAIA World Series game last year versus Baseball America favorite Lee (Tenn.)



PITTSBURGH -- Baseball America (R) has picked Point Park University to finish fifth in the NAIA in its 2013 Small College Preview, which was first published on BaseballAmerica.com on Jan. 29, 2013.

Baseball America, widely regarded as a the premier source for baseball sports information across all levels of the game, put together the rankings with the input of its writers. Baseball America editor John Manuel (@johnmanuelba) compiled the ratings into story that is at the link at the top of this page.

Point Park, which was 53-11 last year and placed fifth at the NAIA World Series, has 6 of 9 position starters and 4 of 5 starting pitchers returning from last season's squad. Point Park has also added a talented group of recruits, chief among them RHP Austin Pressly, a transfer from West Virginia who is rated by Baseball America as the No. 8 overall prospect in the NAIA.

"It is always encouraging to receive recognition especially from a source like Baseball America," said Point Park fourth-year head coach Loren Torres. "We appreciate their respect toward our program. We are now so close to the season that our focus is intensely on being ready when the bell rings February 22. We have worked hard to get the program where it is within NAIA baseball, but 2013 is a new year, and we have to be ready for the challenges of the upcoming season."

Baseball America has Point Park fifth in the country, which is one spot higher than what NAIA baseball coaches have the Pioneers in the preseason. Point Park is ranked No. 6 in the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll (Nov. 15).

Lee (Tenn.) University, which is No. 3 in the NAIA preseason poll, is Baseball America's pick to win the national title. Lee has two pitchers in Baseball America's Top-10 NAIA prospects. RHP Myles Smith is the top prospect, and LHP Clint Terry is rated No. 6.

Defending champion Tennessee Wesleyan, the NAIA preseason No. 1, is picked second by Baseball America followed by NAIA No. 4 Oklahoma City and NAIA No. 2 LSU-Shreveport. Point Park is fifth, according to Baseball America, although Rogers State (Okla.) is ranked No. 5 by the NAIA.

The Pioneers are still making their preparations for their season opener Feb. 22 at (RV) Martin Methodist (Tenn.). Point Park will likely have in its starting lineup six players who started in the NAIA World Series plus last year's Team Offensive MVP OF Javy Marticorena (.384, 7 HR, 34 RBIs), who missed the final 30 games, including the World Series, with a knee injury.

The pitching staff has three returnees who started an NAIA World Series game last year -- RHP Sean Clark (Sr., 8-0, 2.69), LHP  Nathan Sphon (So., 8-1, 2.45 ERA) and RHP Manny Perdomo (Jr., 7-0, 1.79 ERA). Another key newcomer along with Pressly is RHP Michael Cetta, a freshman who redshirted last year at Florida State University. The All-Dade County performer from Miami, Fla., joined the program in January, after the Baseball America info was sent in.

Pressly is a native of Arcanum, Ohio, who was drafted out of high school in the 23rd round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. Baseball America has him as the No. 8 overall NAIA prospect with "good size (6-foot-4) and raw arm strength."


Follow the Pioneers on Twitter @PointParkSports and @PPUBaseball.