Point Park punches ticket to 11th NAIA World Series with 7-5 win over Doane (Neb.)
May 12, 2012
MARION, Ind. -- Point Park University is going back to the NAIA World Series for the 11th time in school history with Saturday night's 7-5 win over Doane (Neb.) College in the championship game of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round in Marion, Ind.
The Pioneers (51-9) swept through the five-team, regional tournament stage this week with a 3-0 record and will be one of 10 teams in the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, May 25-June 1.
Point Park, the No. 2 seed in the Marion, Ind., bracket, beat No. 3 seed Taylor (Ind.), 3-2, in the first round and then beat upset-minded No. 5 seed Doane (36-21) 9-1 and 7-5 on the way to the title.
Doane got the championship game Saturday night by knocking off No. 1 seed and defending NAIA World Series champ Concordia (Calif.) twice earlier in the tournament.
Point Park ranks in the top five all-time with the 11 appearances in the NAIA World Series. The Pioneers are going back for the first time since 1998 after being there 10 times the previous 25 years.
In all, there are nine sites around the country for the NAIA Opening Round. The nine winners join host Lewis-Clark State for the World Series.
The 51 wins for Point Park tie a school record set by the 1986 team that was 51-8 and finished third at the World Series.
The 10-team bracket and seedings for the NAIA World Series will be released by the national office next week. The Pioneers are currently ranked No. 12 in the NAIA but were in the top 10 all year long before this past week.
In Saturday's win over Doane, Point Park built a 4-0 lead after four innings, but Doane pecked away at the lead before finally tying things up at 5-5 with two runs in the top of the eighth.
But Point Park got the winning runs in the bottom of the eighth with the help of three walks -- one of which forced in a run -- and a key RBI base hit by Ossie Alfonzo.
Don McDuffee, who was 2 for 4 with an RBI, led off the eighth with a single. Although he was erased on a failed bunt attempt, Tom Birko, Rob Novia and Lee Bodnar followed with consecutive bases on balls to force in the go-ahead run. Alfonzo made it a two-run game, 7-5, when he ripped a base hit to right field.
The Point Park eighth ended on a double play, but the damage was done. Mike Tullio, who got the win in 3.2 innings of relief, faced four batters in the top of the ninth before closing things out. Doane got the tying run to the plate after a one-out base hit, but a line out to second and a fly out to right ended it.
When McDuffee squeezed the final out, the Point Park team made a dog pile in right field to celebrate the win.
Marlon Leyva had a big game by going 2 for 3 with two walks and two runs scored in the finals. Tom Pasinski was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.
Nate Spohn got the start for Point Park, and the freshman left hander went 5.1 innings with only two runs against. Tullio improved to 6-4 with the victory and gave up three runs.