No. 23 Pioneers take two from WVU Tech for Torres' 200th W at Point Park
March 24, 2015 at 10:45 p.m. ET
Pioneers coach Loren Torres is 200-88 (.694) in his sixth year at Point Park. Photo by Lauren Jones.
BECKLEY, W.Va. -- No. 23 Point Park University baseball won both games at West Virginia Tech on Tuesday afternoon, 8-6 and 4-2. The win in the second game gave Pioneers head coach Loren Torres his 200th win at the school. The sixth-year coach is now 200-88 (.694) at Point Park.
Point Park (17-4, 4-0 KIAC) kept its win streak going to a season-long eight games by rallying for victory in game one and then building an early lead in game two versus future KIAC member West Virginia Tech (12-14). The Golden Bears will be a part of the KIAC next year.
After the win, the Pioneers found out that they had moved up one spot in this week's NAIA Baseball Top 25 Poll and come in at No. 23. Point Park was a perfect 5-0 since the last rankings.
Stefan Mrkonja played the hero in the opening game. With Point Park down to its last out and trailing, 6-4, with two outs and two on in the top of the seventh, Mrkonja stroked a two-run single to tie the game at 6-6 and eventually force extra innings.
Mrkonja struck again in the ninth when, with the score still tied at 6-6, he drove in the eventual winning run with a base hit. Jordan Crowell followed with another RBI hit to bump the lead to 8-6.
Jake Horew (1-0) picked up the victory in 3.2 innings of relief. He now has four saves and one victory in his five appearances after blanking the Golden Bears on two hits. He struck out four and walked none to get the Pioneers to extra innings and then hold things steady in what became a battle of the bullpens.
WVU Tech got a great start from Austin Southcott, who got everything but the last out. He went 6.2 innings, struck out eight, walked none and nearly finished off a 6-4 win.
Things looked that way when Southcott struck out the first two batters of the seventh. But Edberg Dominguez, who was 2 for 4, singled to keep the Pioneers alive. When Demetrius Moorer doubled, it set up Mrkonja's tying single.
Point Park's go-ahead runs in the ninth both came with two outs as Mrkonja and Crowell came up clutch. Mrkonja finished 2 for 4 with four RBIs. Moorer was 2 for 3 with three runs and an RBI. Chaz Russo, who singled to start the ninth-inning rally, was 2 for 4.
Zach Zimmerman came on to pitch the ninth, and we he worked a 1-2-3 inning for the first of two saves for him on the day. The senior from Greensburg, Pa., now has three saves in three chances.
Ben Jarboe got the no-decision as the Point Park starting pitcher. He tossed 4.1 innings and was charnged with six runs on six hits and four walks. The senior righty who transferred from Virginia Intermont struck out two.
After scoring the final four runs of the first game, Point Park scored the first four runs of game two for the early lead. Three of those runs came in the top of the first. With the lead, Pioneers starter Anthony Garofalo (2-0) blanked WVU Tech for the first five innings on his way to earning the victory.
Garofalo pitched into the sixth and ended up giving up two runs (one earned) that inning, but it was another strong start. He had three strikeouts, no walks and yielded seven hits over five innings. Zimmerman came on in the sixth with a couple of runners aboard and no outs. He got out of that jam then closed out the rest of the game for the two-inning save.
After winning game one on the mound Horew was 3 for 3 with an RBI and a run in the nightcap. He stroked an RBI single as part of the three-run first inning. Chris Hernandez was 1 for 2 with two RBIs and lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
That was it for the Pioneers' scoring until the sixth when Horew doubled and scored on Hernandez's base hit for a 4-0 lead.
WVU Tech got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when a couple of singles and two errors brought in two runs. That's when Garofalo exited, but Zimmerman closed the door.
Point Park is now 14-0 versus WVU Tech since 2011. The teams will meet April 21 when the Golden Bears visit Point Park for a doubleheader. It will be the last time the teams meet in non-conference play as WVU Tech has been accepted into the KIAC and will be full conference members next season.
Point Park's next scheduled game was to be Wednesday, March 25 at home versus NCAA Division II No. 7 Seton Hill, but that game has been postponed due to snow in Pittsburgh. It has been rescheduled for May 9. That leaves the Pioneers' next games as at Alice Lloyd (Ky.) for a four-game series Friday-Saturday, March 27-28.