No. 21 Point Park takes series versus Rio Grande, builds lead on first place
April 6, 2015 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Demetrius Moorer slides into home on a wild pitch in Game 1 at Rio Grande on Monday. Photo by URG.
RIO GRANDE, Ohio -- No. 21 Point Park University baseball finished off a KIAC series win at Rio Grande by winning the first game, 8-1, on Monday. Although the Pioneers (25-6, 10-2 KIAC) lost the second game, 4-3, to end their eight-game win streak, they built a season-high 3-game lead for first place in the conference standings.
At 10-2 KIAC and winners of 16 of their last 18 games, the Pioneers lead Rio Grande (17-19, 7-5) and IU Southeast (22-12, 7-5 KIAC) by 3.0 games for first place. Point Park opened the series at Rio Grande with victories of 4-3 and 3-1 Saturday.
Monday's opener got off to a great start for Point Park, which scored five runs in the top of the first and one more in the second for a 6-0 lead. The Pioneers banged out 12 hits in the game with five coming in their first time at bat.
All the offense was plenty for winning pitcher Jason Kim, who improved to 5-1 by giving up only three hits in a complete game. Kim, a junior lefty from LaCrescenta, Calif., did not yield an earned run and picked up a career-high nine strikeouts compared to just one walk.
Point Park's top of the first featured a lead-off single by Demetrius Moorer, a walk to Shane Conley, and a perfectly placed bunt on the third base line by Stefan Mrkonja to load the bases with no outs. After Moorer scored on a wild pitch, Oscar Romero delivered a two-run single. Two batters later, Jake Horew had a two-RBI single of his own.
Moorer, who was one of four Pioneers players to go 2 for 3, doubled to start the second inning. He later scored when a couple of wild pitches moved him up a base each time. Joining Moorer at 2 for 3 were Mrkonja, Romero and Chris Hernandez, the No. 3-5 hitters in the order.
Losing pitcher Landon Hutchinson (3-2) had the rough first two innings but regrouped to strike out eight over four innings. He left with a high pitch count of 91 pitches with six runs on nine hits and three walks.
Point Park managed just four hits in the second game and had their late comeback attempt come up short. The Pioneers scored two runs in the top of the seventh on Mrkonja's two-run double that cut the score to 4-3. With Mrkonja representing the tying run in scoring position, Romero flied out to end the game.
Rio Grande, which totaled 13 hits and five players with more than one hit, steadily built the lead to 4-1. The big cushion came in the bottom of the sixth when Dom Tiberi's base hit with two outs brought home two runs to pad the lead to 4-1.
Point Park's Jarrad Brown (4-1) took his first loss in five starts. He was charged with the first three runs in five innings of work. He gave up 10 hits but kept the run total down to keep the Pioneers in it.
Rio Grande was never able to break the game open too much but had chances to do so. The Rio Grande fourth had three hits and an error but resulted in no runs. With the bases loaded, a 5-2-3 double play ended the inning and kept the score at 2-1.
But with only four hits of its own, Point Park could never pull even or ahead. Ryan Christophel (2-4) pitched 6.2 innings to get the win. He survived six walks by yielding only the four hits. He struck out one.
After Mrkonja's double to cut it to 4-3, Christophel was lifted in favor of Daryin Lewis, who got the save by retiring the only batter he faced.
With its 25-6 record, all 31 of Point Park's games have been away from home. That changes with all 18 of the Pioineers' remaining games scheduled at home. That begins with Wednesday at home versus Milligan (Tenn.) at 1 p.m. (DH).