No. 21 Point Park sweeps future KIAC member Ohio Christian, improves to 22-5
March 31, 2015 at 11:20 p.m. ET
Oscar Romero had three hits, six RBIs and hit a grand slam in the doubleheader. Photo by Lauren Jones.
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio -- No. 21 Point Park University baseball had an offense that scored in bunches and got two solid starting pitching performances in a doubleheader sweep at future KIAC member Ohio Christian on Tuesday. The Pioneers (22-5, 7-1 KIAC) won by scores of 9-1 and 14-3.
Point Park has now won 12 of its last 13 games to bump its record to 22-5 overall. After the games, the Pioneers learned they had moved up two spots to No. 21 in this week's NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll. Point Park is the second-highest ranked northern-based team behind only No. 3 Davenport (Mich.) (25-2).
The Point Park offense slugged five homers on the day versus Ohio Christian (5-8), which will be a member of the KIAC starting next season. The Pioneers used the big inning to pull away from the Trailblazers in both games.
Point Park scored all nine of its runs in the final two innings of the first game. Trailing, 1-0, Point Park scored four times in the top of the sixth, highlighted by designated hitter Andy Chacon's team-leading fourth homer of the year. His two-run shot made the score 4-1. The two previous hitters to Chacon -- Oscar Romero and Chris Hernandez -- stroked an RBI double and RBI single, respectively.
The five-run seventh was capped off by Romero's grand slam with no outs. It was a rough inning for Ohio Christian, which had turned the game over to its bullpen for the seventh. The Trailblazers had already walked in a run before Romero's blast.
Romero led the offense going 2 for 4 with five RBIs. Chacon was 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Hernandez was 2 for 3 with an RBI. The Pioneers totaled seven hits.
Winning pitcher Anthony Garofalo (3-0) held things in check long enough for the offense to come around. He gave up only the single run -- which came in the fourth inning -- in a complete-game effort. The sophomore lefty from Plum, Pa., yielded only three hits, struck out two and walked none in the first complete game of his career.
The second game had three more home runs hit by the Pioneers with two of them coming in the nine-run fifth inning. The score was tied at 2-2 before Point Park exploded in the fifth. Stefan Mrkonja, who was 2 for 4, blasted a two-run homer to start the outburst. Later, Jordan Crowell smashed a three-run homer to put on the rout.
Leading 11-3, the Pioneers tacked on three more in the seventh with the big blow being Jake Horew's two-run shot, his third of the year. The Pioneers totaled nine hits with five of them going for extra bases. A patient offense also took advantage of six walks.
Ben Jarboe, a senior right-hander, got his first win in a Point Park uniform in 5.2 innings of work. Jarboe (1-1) is a transfer from Virgina Intermont. He allowed only four hits and two earned runs in his outing. He got around five walks by limiting the hits and picking up three strikeouts.
Robert Rodriguez pitched the last 1.1 innings in a non-save situation. He retired all four batters he faced.
Point Park and OCU will meet again April 9 with a doubleheader at Point Park. The Pioneers will be in action Friday and Saturday with a four-game, KIAC series at Rio Grande (16-14, 6-2 KIAC). Point Park leads the RedStorm by 1.0 game for first place in the KIAC standings.