Point Park splits with Notre Dame (OH), AMC standings get crowded
April 21, 2011
Derek Peluso improved to 6-1 with the victory in Game 1 Thursday.
PITTSBURGH -- Point Park University split a pair of American Mideast Conference baseball games with visiting Notre Dame (OH) College Thursday afternoon at Green Tree Park, and the league standings got crowded in the process.
Point Park (30-9, 9-5 AMC) reached the 30-win mark for the first time in 10 years by winning the opener, 9-7. But Notre Dame (21-17, 4-10 AMC) made a late rally to win the nigtcap, 8-6.
The loss in the second game leaves Point Park at 9-5 and in second place in the AMC. The top four teams in the league are separated by just two games as first-place Mt. Vernon Nazarene (10-4) split two games with Cedarville (8-6 AMC) Thursday. Point Park is one game clear of Cedarville and Malone (8-6 AMC), the latter of which has won five of six conference games following Thursday's sweep at Walsh.
The top three teams make the AMC Tournament, which is scheduled for May 3-5 at the regular season champion. Point Park has six AMC games remaining, beginning with Saturday's doubleheader at Notre Dame (OH).
Point Park is 5-1 in AMC road games and is 4-4 in AMC games at Green Tree Park.
In Thursday's opener, Point Park got down early as Notre Dame pushed across two runs in the top of the first versus Pioneers starter Derek Peluso. But Peluso, a junior right-hander from Seneca Valley High School, settled in to blank the Falcons over the next several innings while Point Park assumed control of the lead.
Point Park asserted its grip on the game in the third inning as its six runs made the scored 7-2. Junior first baseman Lee Bodnar, from Chartiers, Pa., started the rally with a solo homer, his fifth of the year. Bodnar ended the outburst with Point Park's sixth hit of the frame, an RBI single. Bodnar had two hits each game, and he leads the Pioneers with a .370 batting average and 44 RBIs.
In between Bodnar's hits in the third, Tom Pasinski drove in two runs with a single, and Brian Grise and Kyle Lucot each plated runs with base hits of their own. Lucot was 3 for 5 with an RBI while Grise was 2 for 4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
Notre Dame (OH) cut the lead to 8-5 with three runs in the top of the sixth, but Point Park managed to get an insurance run in its half of the inning. In the top of the seventh, Notre Dame's Travis Brown lifted a two-run double to left center to trim the deficit to 9-7 with two outs. Brown was the last batter Peluso (6-1) faced, and reliever Mike Tullio earned his first save of the year by coming on to retire the next batter and end the game.
Point Park battered losing pitcher Simon Davis (3-4), a sophomore lefty who came in with a 0.88 ERA and a .208 opponents average. Davis gave up eight runs -- all earned -- on 10 hits, three walks and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Peluso gave up seven runs on nine hits with only four of those runs being earned. He struck out two, walked one, and he faced only one batter over the minimum in his middle four innings.
In the second game, Point Park once again got down early as Notre Dame staked a 4-0 lead after its first two times at bat. The Pioneers made two errors in that stretch as only two of those runs were earned versus Point Park starter Ryan Loutsenhizer.
But after the early miscues, the Point Park offense responded with six runs in the bottom of the second for a 6-4 lead. The Pioneers sent 11 men to the plate that inning, and senior catcher Dave Angle got the rally going with his fifth homer of the year, a line-drive shot to left field.
Later, Dillon Sauers, who had two hits in each game, lifted a sacrifice fly, and Grise tied the score at 4-4 with a two-run single. Point Park was not done there as a walk to Lucot was followed by RBI singles from Bodnar and Angle to put the Pioneers ahead, 6-4.
But that was the only inning that Point Park scored. Notre Dame, which had been quiet since its early offense, put together three runs in the fifth to take what turned out to be an insurmountable, 8-6 lead.Tony Younis drove in two with a double, and pinch hitter T.J. Deininger brought home Younis with a two-bagger of his own.
Point Park had its chances in the later innings, but it left eight men on base the last four frames. Point Park left 10 men on in all and was unable to come up with the key hits late in the game.
The Pioneers were leading 6-5 and had a chance to tack onto their lead with the bases loaded and one out out in the fourth. But winning pitcher Chris Miller (4-2) retired the next two hitters to get out of the jam, and that was all for him.
Miller turned things over to Sean Harnish, who threw three shut-out innings to pick up the save. Harnish allowed four hits, and he stranded two runners each in the sixth and seventh innings.
Loutsenhizer (7-1) took the loss in 5.0 innings of work. He struck out three, walked two and gave up six earned runs on eight hits. Other than the 20-0 win over SUNY-Canton in which he pitched four innings, it was the first time that the North Huntingdon, Pa., was pulled from a game. He entered Thursday unbeaten in seven starts with six complete games.
After picking up 13 hits in the opener, Point Park had another 11 hits in game two with Bodnar, Angle and Sauers getting two apiece.
The victory in the opener gave Point Park head coach Loren Torres the 150th victory of his career. Torres, a native of Miami who is in his second year at Point Park, who 107 games while at Judson (IL) for five seasons. He has 43 wins since taking over at Point Park. The previous-high for a team coached by Torres was a 27-win season in his second year at Judson in 2004.
Point Park, which was 13-26 last year, last had 30 wins when it was 34-11 overall and won the AMC regular season championship in 2001. The Pioneers were led that year by NAIA All-American shortstop and current Major Leaguer for the Detroit Tigers Donnie Kelly.