No. 10 Point Park completes four-game, AMC sweep of Walsh, improves to 36-7
April 15, 2012
Lee Bodnar was 3 for 6 with a run and an RBI on Sunday. Photo by Evan Schall.
PITTSBURGH -- NAIA No. 10 Point Park University beat Walsh University twice at home on Sunday to complete a four-game sweep of the American Mideast Conference baseball series. Point Park (36-7, 8-0 AMC) topped Walsh (22-20, 7-5 AMC), 5-4 and 6-2 at Green Tree Park to remain perfect in the AMC and take a firm grasp of first place in the conference standings.
Point Park won at Walsh, 3-1 and 11-6, on Friday to start the series. After the four-game sweep, second-place Walsh is unable to catch Point Park because the Cavaliers are finished with their conference schedule.
The only games left on the league schedule are Point Park's four home games with third-place Fisher (19-21, 4-4 AMC) next Saturday and Sunday. Point Park needs only one win there to guarantee the AMC Regular Season title for the second year in a row.
The other thing that came out of this weekend's results was that Point Park is guaranteed a spot in the Unaffiliated Group (AMC/KIAC/GCAC) Tournament May 1-4 in Kinston, N.C. That's because the Pioneers will definitely be among the top two teams in the AMC standings.
The AMC will send its top two teams to the Unaffiliated Group Tournament, which will be a six-team, double-elimination tournament. It will also include the top two teams from the KIAC and the GCAC with the winner advancing to the NAIA national tournament. All of those conferences fall short of the required six teams needed for an automatic national bid, so they come together to provide a path to NAIAs.
Walsh is not eligible for the postseason because it is in year two of its NCAA Division II process. The only other team in the league is Houghton (1-11 AMC), which is out of contention.
Point Park needed a late rally to beat Walsh, 5-4, in Sunday's opener. That because's Walsh erased a 3-0 deficit with four runs in the top of the seventh.
Trailing, 4-3, in the bottom the seventh, Point Park's Steve Dujka led off with a single, and Tom Pasinski's base hit put runners at first and third with no outs. Then Don McDuffee, a junior from Champaign, Ill., lifted a triple to left field to score the winning runs. Dujka scored easily from third, and Pasinski came around all the way from first to beat the relay throw to the plate.
Dujka was 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI, and Pasinski was 2 for 3.
Sean Clark got the start for Point Park, and he cruised through the first six innings with a 3-0 lead. The Walsh seventh inning started with two singles for two of the six hits against Clark, and he was lifted in favor of Mike Tullio.
Base hits by Trevor Smith and R.J. Vukovich each drove in a run and got Walsh within 3-2. Tullio got pinch hitter Mike Lee to fly out to center field for the second out, but a throw into third base went out of play allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
Clark got a no-decision with four strikeouts, no walks and two earned runs in six innings. Tullio (5-3) got the win with one strikeout, no walks and three hits in one inning.
Point Park grabbed a 3-0 lead after two innings and held it all the way until the seventh. Tom Birko led off the first with a double, and scored on Lee Bodnar's single. In the second, Marlon Leyva singled and scored on Steve Dujka's double. The third run scored on the back end of a double play.
Walsh's Travis Danner (5-1) went six innings and scattered six hits. He was in line for the win and Zach Speer (1-4) the save before Point Park staged its rally in the seventh versus Speer, who did not get an out in his appearance.
Game two was scoreless the first three innings before Point Park jumped out to a 6-0 lead after six innings. Winning pitcher Nate Spohn (5-0) remained unbeaten and did not allow a run the first six innings in his complete-game victory.
In what was a scoreless pitcher's duel to that point, Point Park put together two runs in the fourth. Pasinski singled with two outs and nobody on. After a base hit by McDuffee, Dillon Sauers provided a base knock to plate the first run. Tom Birko added an RBI single.
In the fifth, Bodnar was hit by a pitch and was sacrificed to second by No. 4 hitter Ossie Alfonzo. Dujka followed two batters later with a run-scoring single for a 3-0 lead.
Point Park doubled its lead to 6-0 with three in the sixth as Alfonzo and Leyva provided RBI singles and another run scored on an error. Walsh commited two of its four errors in the inning.
Point Park did all of its scoring in the game with two outs. Five of the runs came from innings that had two outs and nobody on base.
Spohn finished off his complete in the seventh, although Walsh got its only two runs that inning. The freshman left-hander from Greensburg, Pa., struck out one, walked none, and scattered nine hits. Despite the nine hits, only two runners got past second base all game.
Bodnar and Leyva collected two hits apiece, and the Pioneers totaled 10 hits as a team.
Losing pitcher Billy Gura (6-3) went 5.1 innings and kept Point Park off the board the first three innings. Five of the seven hits he gave up came in the two-run fourth inning, and the damage could have been worse that inning had he not picked off a runner at first.
Point Park is in action next with Wednesday's home game versus Salem International at 1 p.m. It will be one nine-inning game at Green Tree Park.
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