Point Park has 10-game winning streak snapped, but still takes 3 of 4 from Malone
By: Doug Andiorio, athletic communications intern
April 2, 2011
Bryce Pfeuffer (13) had a key, 3-run double in Point Park's 7-run 4th inning in the game 1 victory.
Photo by Lyddia Ankrom.
GREEN TREE, Pa. – The Point Park University baseball team had its 10-game winning streak snapped Saturday when visiting Malone won the second game of an AMC doubleheader, 9-4, at Green Tree Park. But Point Park (21-5, 3-1 AMC) won the first game of the day, 8-5, and took three of four games from Malone (20-13, 1-3 AMC) in the weekend series.
The weekend matchup involved the only two teams in the American Mideast Conference that had been getting votes in the NAIA Top 25 poll this week. Malone got 54 votes and Point Park got 11 as both teams were in the ‘others receiving votes’ section of Monday’s national rankings.
Point Park started the series Friday by winning twice at Malone by scores of 5-3 and 8-4.
Point Park showed its determination in game one after erasing a 4-1 deficit. Point Park’s Zach O’Neal had a solo home run in the second – the first-ever homer for the Pioneers at their new home field, Green Tree Park – and that accounted for Point Park’s only run until the fourth inning.
In the fourth inning, Point Park put on its rally caps and scored seven runs. Senior second baseman Bryce Pfeuffer stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs and roped a double to left-center that emptied the bases and tied the game at 4-4.
With two outs and Pfeuffer at third, Dillon Sauers kept the rally going with an RBI single that gave the Pioneers their first lead, 5-4. The hits kept coming in the bottom of the fourth as junior Lee Bodnar came to the plate with Brian Grise, Kyle Lucot and Sauers on the base paths. He nailed a double that scored three more runs to give the Pioneers an 8-4 cushion. Four of Point Park’s runs that inning came with two outs.
Winning pitcher Sean Clark improved to 4-1 for Point Park. The sophomore from Titusville, Pa., went six strong innings with seven strikeouts and four walks. He gave up five runs on seven hits, but only three of the runs were earned. Junior Ben Rodriguez, a transfer from Elgin (IL) CC, worked a scoreless seventh to get his first save in a Point Park uniform.
Bodnar had two hits to lead Point Park’s eight-hit attack. The junior from Chartiers Valley High School had three RBIs to increase his team lead to 34 in that category. Pfeuffer also drove in three runs.
In game two, Malone starting pitcher Jared Messer was the story. The sophomore righty went 6.2 innings with nine strikeouts and three walks. Messer (3-3) gave up 11 hits but Point Park managed only four runs after leaving 12 men on base.
Freshman James Monroe got the start for Point Park in game two. He allowed nine runs with four of those coming in the top of the seventh. The Miami, Fla., native held Malone in check the first six innings. He gave up five runs on six hits in that span and kept Point Park in the game. He finished with six strikeouts and two walks.
Going into the fifth inning Point Park found itself trailing, 5-1, but the Pioneers cut the deficit in half with a pair of runs. Angle brought home a run with a deep double, and another run came home on a groundout.
In the sixth, Sauers singled with two outs and no one on. Brian Grise followed with an RBI double to cut it to 5-4, and the next two batters, Kyle Lucot and Lee Bodnar, were each hit by a pitch from Messer.
That loaded the bases for Angle, who worked a 2-2 count. On the next pitch, Angle was retired on strikes after he was ruled to have failed to check his swing at a ball in the dirt. That call, which was heavily disputed by Point Park, ended the inning, stranded three runners and kept Malone ahead, 5-4.
Malone put together four runs on four hits off a tiring Monroe in the seventh, and Point Park could not mount another comeback rally from there. A couple of singles and a walk loaded the bases in the Point Park seventh, but the next batter struck out.
Point Park’s 11 hits included three from Grise and two each from Angle, O’Neal and Sauers. Angle drove in a pair of runs in game two.
The nine runs for Malone in game two were the most scored by any Point Park opponent this year. It was also the first loss for the Pioneers at Green Tree Park. Point Park is 7-1 there this year.
Point Park is in action again Tuesday at non-conference Gannon. The Pioneers visit PSU-Beaver for a make-up game Wednesday. The Pioneers continue AMC play with four games vs. Walsh (0-2 AMC) April 8-9.