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Baseball News

Pioneers improve to 5-1 with sweep of Roosevelt (IL) on Day 2 of Florida trip

March 7, 2011

Box Score (Game 1)

Box Score (Game 2)

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – The Point Park University baseball team got two more strong performances from starting pitchers Monday and improved to 5-1 on the young season by beating NAIA Roosevelt (IL) by scores of 8-2 and 13-2 in a doubleheader at the Russ Matt Invitational. The second game ended after six innings due to the mercy rule.

The Pioneers (5-1) committed five errors in the first game, but newcomer Ben Rodriguez (1-0) was able to overcome the defensive mistakes by allowing no earned runs in a complete-game effort. The junior righty who transferred this year from Elgin (IL) CC scattered six hits over seven innings, struck out four and walked none.

In the second game of the day, the Point Park starter Mike Tullio (1-0) gave up only five hits and two runs in a six-inning complete game. Tullio, a junior from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., struck out three and walked one.

After those two performances Monday, Point Park’s team ERA now stands at 1.38 after six games. The Pioneers’ staff has given up only six earned runs over 39 innings. They started the year with three shutouts in a row and did not give up an earned run their first 24 innings of the season. So far, Point Park has used six different starting pitchers in its six games.

Rodriguez was able to work around the five errors by getting out of some jams. Point Park had an infield error in the third, but he limited the damage to a single run. Likewise, Point Park had a pair of errors in the sixth, but Rodriguez induced a double play to get out of the inning with only one run against him. Errors also put runners in scoring position in the first and seventh innings, but the East Dundee, Ill., native got by unscathed both times.

Junior first baseman Lee Bodnar led the Point Park offense in the first game by collecting two hits and two RBIs. Point Park took a 7-1 lead with five runs in the third as Bodnar and Frank Marko each delivered an RBI single in the rally.

Bodnar also added a sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it 8-2. Senior catcher Dave Angle had the only other big hit for the Pioneers, a two-run double that made the score 2-0 in the second.

In the second game of the day, Point Park’s Brian Grise, Zach O’Neal and Frank Marko provided nearly all of the offense. Grise, a senior center fielder from Munhall, Pa., was 4 for 5 with three RBIs and three runs to lead the way. Grise had a pair of doubles.

O’Neal, a designated hitter who transferred from Kishwaukee (IL) JC, was 3 for 3 with two doubles and six RBIs. Marko, a junior third baseman from Robinson Twp., Pa., was 3 for 3 with three runs and two RBIs. 

Those three players had 10 of Point Park's 12 hits. And although Roosevelt committed six errors, 10 of Point Park’s 13 runs were earned. Point Park forced the mercy rule into effect by scoring a combined 12 runs over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Oddly, 11 of those 12 runs came with two outs.

With two outs in the fourth, Grise’s RBI double and O’Neal’s two-run single allowed the Pioneers to score three runs and take a 4-1 lead. With two outs in the fifth, Marko and Grise each delivered a run-scoring base hit as part of a three-run outburst.

Point Park extended the lead to 13-2 by scoring five runs after two outs were made in the sixth. Marko’s RBI single was followed by Grise’s RBI double and O’Neal’s two-run double. Two errors allowed two other runs to score.

Point Park continues play at the RussMatt Invitational with a doubleheader versus Hannibal-LaGrange (MO) scheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m. The Pioneers have six more games scheduled in their Florida trip.