No. 22 Malone edges Point Park in two close, extra-inning games, 1-0 and 2-1
March 26, 2010
CANTON, Ohio – Malone University, the No. 22 team in the NAIA, edged Point Park University by scores of 1-0 and 2-1 in an American Mideast Conference baseball doubleheader Friday at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium.
Malone (18-5, 2-0 AMC) won both games in the bottom of the eighth, and Point Park (5-12, 1-5 AMC) had its starting pitchers go the distance both times.
Point Park’s Seth Martin (Verona/Penn Hills) started the opener, and one of the four hits he gave up was a lead-off single to Sam Cracium in the bottom of the eighth. Cracium moved to second on a wild pitch and was sacrificed to third. With one out, Alex Schmid lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to produce the game’s only run.
Martin pitched 7.2 innings, struck out five, walked three and gave up one run on four hits. The senior right-hander induced 12 groundouts in the game. Martin (1-3) threw his second consecutive complete game, and in those 14.2 innings pitched, the Point Park offense has scored zero runs.
In the second game, Point Park starter Joe Cox (Swissvale/Central Catholic) was beaten for the first time in his fourth start of the year. A senior lefty, Cox (3-1) gave up two runs on four hits in 7.1 innings. Malone pushed across an unearned run in the eighth to get the win. Cox is pictured left.
The Malone eighth inning started with Kyle Sprague reaching on an infield error, and he went to second on the play. Schmid bunted Sprague to third, and after two intentional walks to load the bases, a passed ball allowed the winning run to come home.
Malone, the defending AMC champion, has a team batting average of .357, but Martin and Cox were able to silence the Pioneers’ bats.
On a cold evening at Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium, the Point Park offense didn’t fare much better. Point Park managed just five hits off two pitchers in game one. Starter Jeff Shenker went seven innings, struck out four walked three and gave up five hits before handing a scoreless ledger over to reliever Bryan Bayer in the eighth.
Bayer picked up the victory after setting down Point Park in order in the eighth. Shenker (3-0) started for the fourth time this year, and it was the first time that he didn’t come out with a victory.
Dan Campbell (Baldwin/Baldwin) had two of Point Park’s five hits in game one, and the senior first baseman leads the team in hitting at .383.
In the first game, Point Park could not take advantage of bases-loaded opportunities in the first and seventh innings as Malone got out of the jams unscathed each time. In the first, the Pioneers loaded the bases with one out, but Malone recorded the second out at home after a bouncer to third. The inning ended with a strikeout.
In the seventh, Brandon Haburjak (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic) led off with a double. After a failed attempt to sacrifice the go-ahead run to third, an error and a walk loaded the bases with one out. But Malone got out of the jam on a double play that went from third to home to first.
In game two, Dave Angle (Pittsburgh/Pine-Richland) had two of Point Park’s three hits. With no score in the fifth, Angle led off with a double, and he was sacrificed to third by Haburjak. The next batter, Brian Grise (Munhall/Steel Valley), delivered a sacrifice fly to give Point Park a 1-0 lead.
In the Malone sixth, Jon Latimer led off with a single, stole second and scored on a base hit by Matt Anderson. Malone had a chance to turn it into a big inning, but Cox left the bases loaded to keep the score tied at 1-1.
Todd Liberatore, the winning pitcher of game two, improved to 4-0 by pitching all eight innings. Liberatore struck out five, walked one and gave up three hits. He retired the first 11 batters he faced, and he only allowed four base runners in the game. Point Park didn’t get a base runner until Campbell drew a two-out walk in the fourth.
Point Park and Malone finish their AMC weekend series with two games Saturday. The first pitch at Munson Stadium is set for 12 p.m.
Pictured above, senior pitcher Jox Cox is shown in last week's AMC games versus Notre Dame (OH).
Photo by Murphy Moschetta.