Point Park pounds Doane (Neb.), 9-1, moves to within 1 win over NAIA World Series
May 11, 2012
VIDEO: Point Park baseball head coach Loren Torres' post-game interview is posted above.
MARION, Ind. -- Point Park University moved to within one victory of the NAIA World Series with Friday's 9-1 win over Doane (Neb.) College at the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round at the Marion, Ind., bracket.
Point Park improved to 50-9 overall and advances to the championship round of the five-team, double-elimination tournament on Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. ET. The winner of the tournament will go to the NAIA World Series May 25-June 1 in Lewiston, Idaho.
No. 5 seed Doane falls to the loser's bracket and is one of two teams the Pioneers could play in the championship round. The other is No. 1 seed and defending NAIA World Series champ Concordia (Calif.), which survived an elimination game versus No. 3 seed Taylor (Ind.), 4-2, on Friday night.
Concordia (38-17) and Doane (35-20) will play an elimination game at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday with the winner staying alive to play Point Park in the finals at 7 p.m. ET. Either one of those teams needs to beat Point Park twice for the title.
Saturday's Championship Game (7 pm ET) will have Live Stats via the NAIA site. If the opponent is Doane (Neb.), there will also be Live Video & Live Audio courtesy of the Doane College broadcasts. For links to coverage, click here:
Point Park's next win will not only punch a ticket to the NAIA World Series, it will also tie a school record for wins in a season. The Pioneers set the wins record at 51-8 when they finished third at the 1986 NAIA World Series.
Point Park, ranked No. 12 in the NAIA, pounded out nine runs on 17 hits, and its pitchers totaled 11 strikeouts and five hits against. Winning pitcher Derek Peluso (9-1) went 5.1 strong innings and gave up one one run on four hits. He turned it over to the sidearming Horacio Acosta who picked up his second save in 3.2 scoreless innings.
Peluso, a senior right-hander from Zelienople, Pa., struck out six and walked two. Acosta, a junior righty from Miami, Fla., racked up five strikeouts. He came on in the sixth and got out of a bases-loaded jam with a double play and then proceded to strike out five of the next six batters.
After Acosta got the double play, it fired up the Point Park bench, and the Pioneers turned their 5-1 lead into a 9-1 lead in the top of the next inning. The Point Park seventh started with consecutive singles from Steve Dujka, Tom Pasinski and Don McDuffee, the last of which came on a bunt.
After a walk to Dillon Sauers that forced in a run, Tom Birko ripped his fourth single of the game -- this time for two RBIs -- and Lee Bodnar followed two batters later with a run-scoring base hit.
Birko, a sophomore second baseman from Kennedy Twp., Pa., and Montour High School, was 4 for 4 with three RBIs. Bodnar, a senior third baseman from Chartiers Valley High School, finished 3 for 5 with two RBIs.
Other big performances in the Pioneers' 17-hit attack included Sauers going 2 for 3 with two RBIs, Novia going 2 for 4 with two RBIs and Dujka and Pasinski each adding two hits in five at bats.
Novia broke up a scoreless game with his RBI double in the third inning. Birko, who had walked, scored all the way from first on the play and scored three times in all from his leadoff spot.
The Pioneers bumped their lead to 3-0 in the fourth with Sauers' RBI base hit came two batters after a Pasinski single. Birko came up next to bring home a run with a base knock and a 3-0 lead.
Point Park gave Peluso a 5-0 lead in the top of the sixth as Sauers got things going with a one-out double. Birko's single moved Sauers to third, and he scored on Novia's suicide squeeze bunt. It was the second time in two days the Pioneers pulled off a successful squeeze play. Bodnar rounded out the mini-outburst with a base hit to drive in a run for a 5-0 lead.
Doane, the champions of the Great Plains Athletic Conference who pulled an upset of NAIA No. 9 Concordia (Calif.) on Thursday, had the makings of a rally in the sixth. A walk, a single and a catcher's interference loaded the bases with one out, and that was all for Peluso, who went through the first five innings on three-hit, shutout ball.
Acosta came in for a bases-loaded situation, and although he walked in a run that was charged to Peluso, he got the key double play to ignite the momentum for Point Park.
Point Park will now wait while the tournament plays out Friday night and Saturday after noon. Following Point Park's win on Friday afternoon is an elimination game between defending World Series champ Concordia (Calif.), the top seed, and No. 3 seed Taylor (Ind.).
Point Park needs one win to get to its 11th World Series in school history. The Pioneers have not been back there since 1998 but had gone 10 time the previous 25 years.
Point Park needs to lose twice to be eliminated. If necessary, a second championship game will be on Monday, May 14 with a time TBA.