Point Park falls to No. 2 Lee (Tenn.) in NAIA World Series 2nd Round
May 26, 2012
Lee's Jorge Saez slides safely into second base on a first-inning double as Tom Birko takes the throw.
LEWISTON, Idaho -- Two key errors that led to seven unearned runs loomed large for Point Park University in its 9-3 loss to No. 2-ranked Lee (Tenn.) in the second round of the NAIA World Series on Saturday afternoon at Harris Field.
Point Park (52-10) made an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt that opened the flood gates for Lee (55-9-1) to take a 5-0 lead on five unearned runs third inning. In the fourth, a misplay on the infield allowed Lee to tack on four runs instead of the two that would have scored but for the error.
Down, 9-0, Point Park showed some life to knock out talented starting pitcher Kris Hall (12-0) after 5.1 innings, but the three runs they got on wild pitches in the top of the sixth were all the offense the Pioneers could muster.
Point Park, ranked No. 12 in the NAIA Top 25 and seeded seventh in the 10-team, double-elimination bracket, falls to the loser's bracket. The Pioneers will face No. 15-ranked South Carolina-Beaufort (41-18) on Monday, May 28 at 9 a.m. PT. The Sand Sharks are the No. 8 seed in the World Series.
South Carolina Beaufort, in just its fourth year as a baseball program, eliminated traditional power and No. 5 seed Embry Riddle (Fla.) earlier in the day Saturday.
The winner of Monday's game will advance in the loser's bracket to play Tuesday at 12 p.m. PT versus an opponent that is TBA. The tournament continues through June 1 on the campus of host Lewis-Clark State College.
Point Park starter Nathan Spohn (8-1) lasted three-plus innings. The freshman left-hander from Greensburg, Pa., allowed seven runs with only two of them earned. He finished with two strikeouts, two walks and six hits against.
Spohn faced only seven batters through the first two innings but allowed two singles to start the third. The third batter, Brady Renner, laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a mix-up on a throw to third allowed a run to score and get the big inning going.
The third inning also included an RBI groundout, an RBI single from slugging DH Corey Davis and a big two-run double off the wall in left by Mike Moore. All five of the runs were unearned.
A walk and a double to start the fourth ended Spohn's day, and two of the four runs scored that inning versus reliever Horacio Acosta were unearned. A caught stealing and a strikeout made it two outs in the inning, but an infield error left it going long enough for Davis to tack on two more runs with a base hit.
Davis, a 240-pound designated hitter batting .340 with 10 home runs coming in, was 2 for 5 with three RBIs and nearly hit a three-run homer on his fly out to center in the eighth.
Lee, which has finished no worse than third in the NAIA World Series the last four years and is in the tournament for the sixth time in a row, advances in the winner's bracket to play NAIA No. 3 Oklahoma City (48-10) on Monday at 6:30 p.m. PT.
Lee had 11 hits in all, and Point Park had six hits. The Pioneers had the potential for a couple of big innings early, but wasted two singles in the second and left the bases loaded in the third.
With the 5-0 lead, Hall settled in for Lee to retire seven in a row, but Point Park got to him with three runs in the sixth. All of those runs came on wild pitches and two of them came on one wild pitch alone.
But Lee went to its strong bullpen with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, and Joe Fabre stranded three on base by setting down the next two hitters.
Ossie Alfonzo continued his hot hitting in the World Series as the Pioneers' cleanup hitter was 3 for 5 in the game and is now 5 for 9 in the Series. First baseman Steve Dujka was 2 for 3 as those two accounted for five of the six hits.
Hall did well to strikeout seven with a very good fastball and a sharp breaking ball, but he also walked five and hit a batter. The patient Point Park offense drew seven walks in all but could not take advantage of the base runners with 10 left on base.
Isaiah Marsh came on to pitch for Point Park in the fifth inning, and the sophomore righty from Clear Brook, Va., did not allow a run and gave up only two hits to the powerful Lee lineup. He strick out one and walked two.
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