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Point Park drops both ends of a doubleheader to Wheeling Jesuit in home openers

March 17, 2010

ROBINSON TWP., Pa. – Playing for the first time in nearly two weeks and the first time since returning from its spring-training trip to Florida, the Point Park University baseball team dropped both games of a non-conference doubleheader versus visiting Wheeling Jesuit Wednesday afternoon.

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Wheeling Jesuit (5-2) won the first game, 9-4, and won the second game, 14-0, at Frank J. Marko Field at Burkett Recreation & Sports Complex.

Point Park (4-7) last played on March 4 when it won the final two games of its nine-game Florida trip. The Pioneers will now look ahead to American Mideast Conference play, which begins this weekend with a four-game set at home versus Notre Dame (OH).

Point Park welcomes Notre Dame (11-4) for doubleheaders starting at 1 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

Wheeling Jesuit, an NCAA Division II team and a member of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, pounded out 30 hits and scored 23 runs on the day.

In game one, the Cardinals opened up a 9-1 lead with four runs in the top of the seventh. Point Park scored three runs in its last time at bat, but it was too little, too late after winning pitcher Noah Mull had shut down the Pioneers’ bats the first six innings.

Mull struck out 11, walked two and scattered six hits in six innings of work. Point Park managed just one run against Mull before touching reliever Alex Kozusko for three runs in the last of the seventh.

Andrew Nemecek led the Wheeling Jesuit offense by going 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Nemecek drove in two runs with a double during a three-run first inning.

The Cardinals pushed across two runs in the third by stringing together five consecutive singles to extend the lead to 5-0.  Wheeling Jesuit sent nine men to the plate and had three hits during its four-run seventh.

Point Park cut the lead to 5-1 on an RBI double by Ricky Cordido (Caracas, Venezuela) in the third. Point Park’s runs in the seventh came via a two-run double by Robert Novia (North Port, Fla./North Port) and a sacrifice fly by Jesse Pesanka (Baldwin/Baldwin).

Joe Downar (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Heartley) pitched the first 6.1 innings for Point Park and took the loss. The junior right-hander struck out three and walked one. In the four innings in which he did not give up any runs, Downar faced a combined 14 batters.

Bryce Pfeuffer (Robinson Twp./Montour) had two hits in the first game to improve his team-leading batting average to .400 with a 3 for 6 performance on the day.

Senior catcher Brandon Haburjak (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic) was 2 for 4 on the day with both hits coming in the opener. The team captain missed the entire spring trip with a hand injury, but caught both ends of the doubleheader Wednesday in his first action of the season.

In the second game, Wheeling Jesuit had 18 hits in all. The Cardinals led 6-0 after three innings and extended the advantage to 12-0 with four runs in the sixth.

Point Park left 11 men on base in game two, and Wheeling Jesuit’s defense helped to kill multiple rallies. The Cardinals turned two double plays to get out of jams early in the game before turning things over to its offense to break the game open later on.

Dave Angle (Pittsburgh/Pine-Richland) and Dan Campbell (Baldwin/Baldwin) had two hits apiece for Point Park, which totaled eight hits as a team.

Point Park starter Nick Merich (Peters Twp./Peters Twp.), a sophomore right-hander, pitched 4.2 innings. Merich took the loss with four strikeouts and one walk. A two-out walk in the second opened the door for Wheeling Jesuit to score two runs. And a passed ball in the third contributed to two of the four runs in the inning being unearned.