Point Park sweeps non-conference games from Clarion to snap losing streak
April 6, 2010
CLARION, Pa. – The Point Park University baseball team got back on the winning track with a doubleheader sweep at non-conference Clarion University Tuesday afternoon.
The Pioneers (7-18) snapped a 10-game losing streak by beating Clarion (3-19) by scores of 12-11 and 8-6. The second game lasted eight innings.
Point Park’s losing streak was filled with plenty of tough breaks and close loses. During the streak, the Pioneers lost five times by one run, went to extra innings three times and had their opponent win in their last at bat four times.
But Point Park was able to get in the win column Tuesday thanks to pounding out 14 hits in each game. The Pioneers took advantage of four Clarion errors in the opener and scored eight unearned runs. The winning run scored after a two-out error in the top of the seventh.
The Pioneers survived three errors of their own in the nightcap, and they scored two runs in the top of the eighth to break a 6-6 tie. Point Park’s Tom Birko (Coraopolis/Montour), who was 2 for 4 in game two, ripped a two-run single with two outs in the eighth to provide the difference.
In the first game of the day, Joe Downar (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Heartley) got the victory. Downar (pictured above), a junior right-hander was the fourth and final Point Park pitcher of the game. He got the last four outs of the game and retired all the batters he faced.
Downar entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and the score tied, 11-11. Downar got the last out of the sixth to stranded two runners, and he set down the Golden Eagles in order in the eighth after Point Park had taken a 12-11 lead in the top of the frame.
Dan Campbell (Baldwin/Baldwin) led off the Point Park seventh with a single, and he came around to score on an outfield error with two outs. Campbell, Point Park’s leading hitter, hit safely in both games to extend his season-long hitting streak to seven games.
Kyle Lucot (South Park/South Park), the left fielder, was 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Lucot ripped a two-run triple as part of a five-run fourth inning. Two innings later, his run-scoring base hit capped off a five-run rally that tied the game at 11.
Lucot also had two hits in the second game as he and Birko each extended their hit streaks to six games. In the first game, Ricky Cordido (Caracas, Venezuela) led the way with three hits while Jesse Pesanka (Baldwin/Baldwin) and Robert Munoz (Miami, Fla./South Miami) had two hits apiece. Munoz, a freshman catcher, drove in two runs.
After Point Park had taken a 5-3 lead with five runs in the fourth, Clarion scored seven runs on six hits in the bottom of the inning to go ahead, 10-5.
In the second game, Point Park put together a couple of three-run innings – the second and the sixth – before pushing across two runs in the eighth to win, 8-6.
In the second inning, Brandon Haburjak (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic) drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in between RBI single from Lucot and Robert Novia (North Port, Fla./North Port). Munoz walked and Brian Grise (Munhall/Steel Valley) singled to start the inning.
Trailing, 5-3, Point Park got three runs in the sixth when consecutive RBI singles by Lucot and Haburjak were followed by a sacrifice fly from Novia. Munoz had started the rally with a single, and Grise followed with a double to set up the rally.
Grise, a junior center fielder, was 3 for 4 with three runs in game two. Lucot and Haburjak joined Birko and Bryce Pfeuffer (Robinson Twp./Montour) with two hits apiece. The last four hitters in the Point Park lineup – Grise, Lucot, Haburjak and Novia – combined to go 8 for 12 with six runs and six RBIs.
Birko’s two-run single in the eighth was preceded by a lead-off single by Grise, a sacrifice bunt by Lucot, and a single and a stolen base by Haburjak.
Point Park starter Mike Tullio (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach CC) worked the first six innings, but he did not figure in the decision. The sophomore right-hander who transferred in this year struck out six, walked two and scattered 10 hits.
Derek Peluso (Zelienople/Seneca Valley) picked up the victory in relief by pitching the final two innings. The sophomore righty struck out one and walked none. Peluso gave up three hits, and he stranded a runner at second base in the seventh and eighth innings.
Clarion’s Scott Berkes pitched all eight innings. He struck out five, walked two and gave up 14 hits. In the first game, the Golden Eagles used seven pitchers with none lasting longer than the starter, Brett Whitman, who went two innings.
Point Park resumes American Mideast Conference play this weekend by entertaining Walsh for a four-game series. Point Park will host doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday with game time set for 1 p.m. each day at Frank J. Marko Field at Burkett Recreation Complex.