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No. 22 @PPUBaseball wins twice on Friday, heads north with 9-1 week in Florida

March 6, 2015 at 10:00 p.m. ET

Shane Conley was 4 for 7 with five runs and three stolen bases on Friday. Photo courtesy of CU athletics.


WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- No. 22 Point Park University baseball will return to Pittsburgh with a 9-1 record after playing 10 games this week at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. That's after the Pioneers beat Trinity International (Ill.), 14-0, and Cornerstone (Mich.), 5-1, on Friday.

Point Park (9-1) put the finishing touches on a strong week with Friday's victories. Pitching highlighted the week as the Pioneers head north with a team ERA of 1.29 through 10 games. Opponents are hitting just .203 off the Pioneers.

Adding to the excellent mound work on Friday was senior left-hander Nate Sphon (2-0), who threw five shut-out innings in the 14-0 victory over Trinity International. The Greensburg, Pa., native allowed just two hits, struck out six and walked two.

Sphon got his third start of the week and was operating on three-days rest. He threw three innings Feb. 28 in a game versus Goshen that was eventually rained out. He came back March 2 to throw five scoreless and get the win versus Evangel (Mo.) and logged 10.0 offical innings on the week.

The Pioneers' pitching staff has put together four shutouts thus far. The fourth one came Friday when sophomore lefty Anthony Garofalo tacked on two scoreless innings on top of Sphon's effort. The Plum, Pa., native stacked three strikeouts against no walks.

In Friday's win over Cornerstone (Mich.), junior right-hander Robert Rodriguez worked six innings to earn the victory. The Hialeah, Fla., native and St. Thomas (Fla.) University transfer gave up just the one run and scattered seven hits. The Golden Eagles never got more than two hits in any inning, and he limited the damage with just one walk and struck out two.

Luis Romero, a lefty from Caracas, Venezuela, came in to close out the seventh inning and pick up the save. That capped off a week in which the Pioneers' pitching staff has combined to give up just 10 earned runs in 10 games. There are six pitchers who have an ERA of 0.00, and that group has combined to toss 35.0 innings led by Jason Kim (14.0 IP), Sphon (10.0 IP) and Zach Zimmerman (5.1 IP).

The 14 runs versus Trinity International came on 13 hits as the biggest offensive output on the young season. Eight different Pioneers had a hit led by Shane Conley going 3 for 5 with four runs and two stolen bases. It was a big day for Conley, a junior outfielder from Carnegie, Pa., who was 4 for 7 with five runs and three steals on the afternoon.

The Pioneers offense scored at least two runs in every inning versus Trinity International. Oscar Romero was 2 for 3 with five RBIs, and Andres Herrera was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Stefan Mrkonja also knocked in two runs and was 1 for 3.

Big hits in the game were Romero's three-run double in the second, Mrkonja's two-run single in the third and Herrera's two-run double in the fourth. By that time, the Pioneers were up, 10-0.

Versus Cornerstone, all five of Point Park's runs were unearned as it took advantage of three errors and six walks. But it was the Pioneers who kept the pressure on to force the issue at the plate and on the basepaths.

The Pioneers took a 2-0 lead when runs scored on an error and a bases-loaded walk in the third.

In the fourth, Point Park put the pressure on the Cornerstone infield, which eventually cracked for a big error. A base hit by Zimmerman was followed by two fielder's choices, a stolen base by Conley, a walk to Mrkonja and eventually Crowell's groudball being misplayed, which led to a run.

More taking advantage of the defense came in the fifth. Horew singled, advanced to second a wild pitch and scored when Zimmeran's fly ball to right went for an error. Zimmerman ended up scoring on Conley's RBI single.

Point Park returns to action March 11 with an NAIA doubleheader scheduled at Shawnee State (12 p.m.) in Portsmouth, Ohio. Follow the Pioneers on Twitter @PointParkSports and @PPUBaseball