@PPUBaseball locks up 3rd straight KIAC title with wins over IU Southeast
April 18, 2015 at 11;30 p.m. ET
Shane Conley tied Game 2 at 2-2 with a base hit. Photo by Sam Robinson.
PITTSBURGH -- No. 21-ranked Point Park University baseball locked up its third-straight KIAC regular season championship with two wins over visiting IU Southeast, 3-0 and 3-2, on Saturday at Point Park Field at Green Tree Park.
The Pioneers (31-10, 16-4 KIAC) needed one victory over IU Southeast (29-15, 13-7 KIAC) on the day to seal the conference title but instead took both games. Saturday's victories gave Point Park a 2-2 split in the series to rebound from losses of 6-4 and 5-3 to the Grenadiers on Friday.
Jason Kim tossed a two-hit shutout to win Saturday's opener. In the nightcap, Point Park won in its last at bat as Demetrius Moorer's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh scored Jake Horew for the winning run.
Kim (7-1) was excellent in his shutout. He allowed just one clean hit, which came with two outs in the sixth inning. The only other hit was a bunt single in the second. The Grenadiers had only five base runners with only one getting past second base. Kim struck out eight and walked two.
The only real trouble Kim was in came in the sixth when an error and a base hit by Josh Beams put runners at first and third with two outs for cleanup man Logan Coughlin. But Coughlin, who homered twice in Friday's wins, went down swinging to end the threat.
Point Park did all of its scoring with two outs in the fourth inning. Four straight hits -- two of which were doubles -- produced the 3-0 score that Kim needed to win.
Jordan Crowell, who was 2 for 2, singled, and Chaz Russo doubled to set the table. Chris Hernandez followed with the biggest hit of the game, a two-run double to deep right center. Horew came up next with an RBI single to pad the lead.
That uprising made IU Southeast starter Kyle Rupe (4-3) the losing pitcher and charged with all three runs in 4.2 innings. He gave up six hits, walked two and picked up three strikeouts.
In the second game, Point Park went down, 2-0, through 4.5 innings but came back to win. Russo blasted a solo homer to cut the IU Southeast lead to 2-1 as the lead-off hitter in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Moorer legged out an infield single and stole second to put the tying run in scoring position.
Then Shane Conley came up with an RBI single to knot things at 2-2. On the play IU Southeast center fielder Marcus Howard made a diving attempt on the liner but couldn't come up with it.
Point Park starter Jarrad Brown, who got a no-decision in working in and out of trouble through 6.1 innings, settled in to keep the score at 2-2. Horew came on in relief to get the final out of the top of the seventh and became the winner with the walk-off win in the bottom half.
Russo led off with a walk but was erased on a failed sacrifice attempt by Horew. Then senior catcher Robert DeSantiago delivered a big base hit through the left side, and Horew went first to third to put the winning run 90 feet away with one out. Moorer's fly ball to right field came on the next play, and Horew made it home for the win.
A big play in the game was a defensive stop by Point Park in the top of the sixth. With score tied at 2-2 and two outs, Howard doubled off the wall in center. Moorer played the carom and hit cut-off man Russo, who threw home. The relay throw nailed pinch runner Alex Bush, who had tried to score from first.
Brown ended up yielding 12 hits but those amounted to just two runs as he limited the damage. He struck out three and walked none and now has 30 strikeouts compared to just three walks on the year.
With the losses, IU Southeast went from having a shot at the division title at the start of the day to finishing in third place in the KIAC standings. Rio Grande beat Alice Lloyd twice on Saturday to improve to 13-5 KIAC. Rio Grande took three of four from IU Southeast in the season series and can't be caught by the Grenadiers.
The Pioneers will next be in action at home on Tuesday versus future KIAC member West Virginia Tech. The doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. Follow the Pioneers on Twitter @PointParkSports and @PPUBaseball