Point Park picks up 1,100th baseball victory, earns NAIA Top 25 ranking
April 26, 2011
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. -- The Point Park University baseball team picked up the 1,100th victory in the 44-year history of the program and also cracked the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll all in the same day.
The Pioneers, 33-9 overall and 11-5 AMC, won at Salem International, 5-4, Tuesday afternoon and then later in the day learned that they were ranked No. 25 in the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll released by the national office today.
The national ranking is the first one for Point Park since it was rated No. 13 in the preseason poll prior to the 1999 season. That year, Point Park was coming off a trip to the NAIA World Series in 1998.
The first year of Point Park baseball was the spring of 1968, and in the 44 years since, the Pioneers have averaged 25 wins per season. They have been to 10 NAIA World Series, which is tied for fifth most all-time.
Point Park's all-time win-loss record stands at 1,100-613-9 for a winning percentage of .641.
The national rankings comes after a four-week stretch in which the Pioneers were just outside the Top 25. Point Park was in the 'others receiving votes' section of the first four regular-season polls before breaking through this week in rating number five.
The victory over Salem International Tuesday gives Point Park 20 more wins than it had last year. The Pioneers went from 13-26 overall and tied for last place in the AMC last season to this year in which it has a national ranking to its credit. At 11-5 in the AMC, Point Park is within reach of an AMC regular season title entering this the final weekend of the schedule.
Point Park got out to a 4-0 lead the first three innings at Salem Int'l. In just his second start among his 11 appearances, Point Park starting pitcher Ben Rodriguez blanked Salem Int'l the first five innings before give up two runs each in the sixth and seventh.
Rodriguez (5-0) got the win in 6.1 innings of work. The transfer from Elgin (IL) CC gave up four runs on 13 hits, struck out none and walked one before giving way to Alcibiades Gonzalez in the seventh. Gonzalez, a native of Panama, picked up his team-leading third save by getting the only batter he faced to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game and preserve the 5-4 win.
Zach O'Neal, a junior from Greenfield, Ind., had two of Point Park's seven hits, and his solo homer in the third gave the visitors a 4-0 lead. Dave Angle had driven in a run with an RBI single in the first, and Brian Grise brought home two runs with a base hit in the second to account for the early lead.
Point Park added another run for a 5-0 lead in the top of the sixth, and the Pioneers ended up needing it. The Tigers scored four runs on four hits in the sixth and got a couple of runs on two hits in the seventh. Salem had the tying and go-ahead runs aboard when Gonzalez entered the game, but he closed out the victory.
Point Park plays host to PSU-Greater Allegheny for Wednesday at Green Tree Park. The teams will play one nine-inning game starting at 3 p.m. The Pioneers finish their AMC scheduled Friday-Saturday vs. Cedarville. The four-game series starts with two games at Point Park Friday at 1 p.m.