No. 21 Point Park loses two close ones to NCAA DII No. 9 Seton Hill, 9-8 and 6-4
April 15, 2015 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Oscar Romero homered in Game 1 at Seton Hill. Photo by Sam Robinson.
GREENSBURG, Pa. -- Two of the top college baseball teams in the area got together on Wednesday, and it was NCAA Division II No. 9 Seton Hill coming away with two close victories over NAIA No. 21 Point Park, 9-8 and 6-4.
Seton Hill (32-6, 17-3 PSAC) won a back-and-forth game in the opener as the teams combined for four home runs. Point Park (29-8, 14-2 KIAC) fell behind in game two with Mark Collella's three-run homer that made the score 5-1 after two. The Pioneers battled back to within 5-4 but fell a couple of runs short.
Point Park entered Wednesday's games on a 20-2 streak since March 12. The highly ranked Griffins join NAIA No. 2 Davenport (Mich.) as the only teams to take a doubleheader versus the Pioneers this year.
Wednesday's opener followed suit as a slug fest, which duplicated last year's meeting between the teams, a 13-12 win for Seton Hill in Greensburg.
Seton Hill was up, 7-5, after two innings, although before that, Point Park was up 3-0 and 5-3 after its first two times at bat. When the Pioneers scored three times in the top of the first, it was Stefan Mrkonja's two-run double as the highlight.
The Griffins took advantage of two Point Park errors in the bottom of the first. Following the errors, Chris Miller, Cody Herald and Anthony Fanelli all doubled to make the Pioneers pay and tie the score at 3-3. All three of those runs were unearned versus Point Park starter Anthony Garofalo who lasted two innings, gave up seven runs (four earned), struck out five and walked none.
Point Park built its 5-3 lead on Demetrius Moorer's two run homer in the second. But Seton Hill had homers of its own in the bottom half as Nick Sell's 21st of the year was a three-run shot to left field. Cleanup man Chris Miller followed with his ninth of the year, a solo shot that made it back-to-back bombs for a 7-5 lead.
The back-and-forth affair continued as the Pioneers knotted the score at 7-7 on a pair of RBI singles from Chaz Russo and Moorer in the fourth. An inning later, Oscar Romero hit a solo homer for an 8-7 lead.
Seton Hill scratched across the eventual winning runs in the fifth when a walk, a couple of hits and a sacrifice fly proved the difference. That came against Point Park reliever Zach Zimmerman, who gave up just those two runs on four hits over four innings.
Seton Hill used three pitchers, the first of which was No. 2 starter in the rotation Brett Sullivan, who pitched one inning. Point Park got him for three runs. Logan Urtz was the third pitcher to work and earned the win the last three innings.
The Griffins used another four pitchers in the nightcap, and it was No. 1 starter Mike Bittel who started the game and pitched one inning. Three other pitchers all got two innings of work each, and they combined to limit Point Park to two hits.
Still, Point Park was within 5-4 after 2.5 innings. Although Collella's big 3-run homer put the Pioneers in the early hole, they put up three in the third. Mrkonja again delivered the big hit, a two-run double with the bases loaded. An RBI groundout by Romero cut the deficit to a single run.
Seton Hill extended the lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the third when Urtz doubled, stole third and scored on Collella's groundout. But that was the last of the scoring for either team.
Point Park reliever Robert Rodriguez came on in relief of starter Ben Jarboe after Urtz's double. Rodriguez gave up no runs on one hit over the last 3.2 innings. Jarboe went the first 2.1 innings and was charged with all six runs on four hits.
Point Park returns to conference action this weekend by hosting IU Southeast (27-13, 11-5 KIAC) for a four-game, KIAC series. Doubleheaders are Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 12 p.m.