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No. 22 Point Park opens season with two wins over Benedictine in Florida

March 1, 2015 at 11:50 p.m.

Jordan Crowell had a two-run single in Game 1, a 4-2 victory. Photo by Sam Robinson.



WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- No. 22 Point Park University finally got to play some baseball on Sunday, and the Pioneers opened their season with two solid wins, 4-2 and 3-0, over Benedictine-Springfield (Ill.) in the first official games of the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.

Not only did the Pioneers (2-0) have last weekend's opening series at Milligan (Tenn.) snowed out, they were welcome to Florida by having their first two scheduled games rained out on Saturday.

When they finally took the field, the Pioneers got the runs they needed early and got two very strong starting pitching performances.

Nolan Krivijanski (1-0) gave up only two hits his first six innings for work, which was more than enough to protect the 4-0 lead that was built after two innings.

Krivijanski, a junior right-hander from Central Catholic HS and a former Duquesne University football quarterback, struck out three, walked one and shook off three hit batters to pick up the win in six-plus innings of work.

Krivijanski gave up four hits in his outing, and two of those were to start the seventh inning. But sophomore right-hander Jake Horew came in from his shortstop position to close out the victory and earn the save. Horew had the tying run aboard, but he got a fielder's choice and a couple of flyouts to close it out.

Point Park got on the board early in the opener as leadoff man Demetrius Moorer, a center fielder transfer from Eastern Kentucky, walked and stole second and third in the top of the first. Stefan Mrkonja, a sophomore right fielder from Aliquippa, Pa., followed four batters later with an RBI single with two outs.

In the third, Shane Conley stroked an RBI single, and Jordan Crowell followed with a two-run single of his own. The inning got started with walks to Horew and Robert DeSantiago and a hit by pitch on Moorer.

The early lead stood up as Krivijanski blanked Benedictine (0-2) over the first six innings. They didn't score until stringing together three singles to start the seventh.

In the second game, Jason Kim tacked on another outstanding start, a two-hit shutout with five strikeouts and one walk. Kim is a junior lefty from LaCrescenta, Calif., who transferred this year from NAIA Biola (Calif.).

Kim retired the first five batters he faced to settle into a groove that lasted the whole game. He gave up a single with two outs in the second but promptly got a pick-off to end the inning. He worked around a couple of infield errors in the third and fourth inning and never let a runner past second base. 

By the time Kim struck out the last two batters of the game, he had set down five in row.

Point Park again built an early lead and was up 3-0 after three. Horew came up with the big hit, a two-run single with two outs in the second. Mrkonja had doubled and Russo walked to set the table.

The Pioneers added an insurance run in the third when Conley singled, stole second, moved to third on a line out and was knocked in by Oscar Romero's sacrifice fly.

Point Park did not get much else as it managed only three hits versus the Benedictine Game 2 pitching. But Kim was up to the task.

In Game 1, Moorer led the way going 2 for 2 with a walk, a hit batter, two runs and three stolen bases. He was the only Pioneer with more than one hit, but Point Park's eight hits came from seven different batters. Russo was 1 for 2 with two walks. Horew was 1 for 2 with a double and two walks.

Point Park returns to action at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational on Monday, where it will be all week. The Pioneers next play a doubleheader versus Evangel (Mo.) (4-4) at 12 p.m. at the Frostproof Sports Complex.

Note: Senior lefty Nate Sphon got the start for Point Park on Saturday in the scheduled season opener versus Goshen (Ind.). The Pioneers were tied, 3-3, after three innings when the rains came and cancelled the rest of the day, which also included a scheduled game versus Cleary (Mich.).

Follow the Pioneers on Twitter @PointParkSports@PPUBaseball