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Point Park climbs to No. 9 in NAIA rankings, beats WV Tech, 2-1 and 9-6

March 27, 2012

2012 Baseball Team Photo (Web)



PITTSBURGH -- The Point Park University baseball team learned that it had climbed to No. 9 in the NAIA shortly after beating West Virginia Tech, 2-1 and 9-6, at Green Tree Park on Tuesday to increase its win streak to a season-long 12 games.

In their post-game meeting, the Pioneers (24-3) received word that they were No. 9 in the first NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll of the regular season that was released by the national office at about 6 p.m. ET.

Point Park was just outside the Top 25 at No. 26 in the NAIA Baseball Preseason Top 25 that was released Nov. 15. But the Pioneers vaulted 17 spots and into the top 10 by virtue of winning 24 of its first 27 games.

To view the complete NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, click here: http://tinyurl.com/7ql7bnb

Point Park is coming off a 38-13 record last year, a season in which the Pioneers were the first team left out of the at-large bids to the national tournament despite ending the year at No. 23 in the final poll. Point Park's only losses are to then-No. 7 Cumberland (Tenn.), then-No. 23 Madonna (Mich.) and a strong Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) team.

"We have been working really hard, and it is great to see where we are in the national rankings," said third-year Point Park head coach Loren Torres. "We've worked extremely hard to get to this point, but now we have to keep working hard to stay where we are.

"The message to the team in the post-game was to stay humble and stay hungry. Staying humble keeps you as the same player you were before we were highly ranked -- stay within yourself and don't try to be someone you are not. Staying hungry gets you to practice everyday with a desire to fight day in and day out to get better."

Having played a tough schedule, the Pioneers still have the fourth-best record in all of the NAIA at 24-3. Point Park was able to jump into the top 10 on the strength of going 5-2 versus teams that were ranked or in the 'others receiving votes' section of the preseason rankings.

Point Park got a good start to its season by going 4-1 on its season-opening trip to Martin Methodist (Tenn.), Cumberland (Tenn.) and Campbellsville (Ky) from Feb. 24-26.

Point Park took two from Martin Methodist, which is receiving votes like it did in the preseason. Point Park split with Cumberland, which was ranked No. 7 at the time, but is just outside the Top 25 in this recent poll. And the Pioneers beat Cambellsville, which went from receiving votes in the preseason all the way up to No. 13 in the first regular-season poll.

Other good showings for the Pioneers include doubleheader splits with then-No. 23 Madonna (Mich.) and a strong Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) team during its Florida trip.

"We said in the preseason that our trip to Tennesee and Kentucky to start the year would vault us up in the rankings if we did well or have us drop down if we struggled," said Torres. "We were able to come out of there 4-1 and have kept it going."

"There is still a long way to go. Our motivation comes from all the hard work we have put in so far, and we have to keep that motivation with us day in and day out."

Point Park came away with a 2-1 win over WV Tech in Tuesday's opening game. The Pioneers got single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to erase a 1-0 deficit. Tom Pasinski, a junior center fielder from West Mifflin, Pa., and Steve Dujka, a senior first baseman from St. Charles, Ill., delivered RBI singles in consecutive innings to provide the difference.

Dujka was 2 for 2 in the game to account for two of the Pioneers' six hits. That was all that winning pitcher Manny Perdomo (3-0) needed, as the sophomore righty from Hialeah, Fla., tossed six strong innings. Perdomo limited WV Tech (16-16) to three hits and gave up only one run despite fighting his control at times. He walked three, hit a batter and struck out one.

Mike Tullio came on to pitch a 1-2-3 seventh inning, and the senior from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., picked up his seventh save of the year. Tullio has now worked in 14 of the Pioneers' 27 games and has a 4-1 record.

In game two of the day, Point Park did all of its scoring in two innings. The Pioneers won, 9-6, with four runs in the second and five runs in the fifth. Point Park pounded out 12 hits, and sophomore second baseman Tom Birko, from Kennedy Twp., Pa., was 3 for 4 with two RBIs.

Ossie Alfonzo, a catcher from Miami, Fla., joined Pasinski in going 2 for 3 with two RBIs in game two. Dujka, who was 4 for 5 on the day, added a 2-for-3 performance in the nightcap.

Pasinski had two triples in the game, including the two-run triple that highlighted the four-run outburst in the second. The inning also included an RBI double from Alfonzo and an RBI single from Birko.

Leading 4-3 through four innings, Point Park tacked on five more in the fifth after sending 10 men to the plate. Alfonzo, Birko and Marlon Leyva all knocked in runs with base hits during the rally. The inning also included a run coming home on an error and another on a wild pitch.

Isaiah Marsh got the start in game two and lasted 2.1 innings. he was charged with three runs on three hits and three walks. Horacio Acosta (1-0) got the win in 2.2 innings of relief in what was his second outing of the year. He gave up two hits and did not give up a run.

Jon Corcoran came on to finish the last two innings. He entered the game with runners are first and third and no outs in the sixth, but he got the next three batters in order to get out of it.

Point Park's next action includes this weekend's American Mideast Conference openers versus Houghton. The Pioners host the Highlanders for a four-game series beginning Friday at Green Tree Park at 1 p.m.


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