Point Park falls to Rogers State, 8-6, in NAIA World Series elimination game
May 29, 2012
Pioneers right fielder Don McDuffee takes a cut during Monday's win over USCB. He was 2 for 5 on Tuesday.
LEWISTON, Idaho -- In a back-and-forth game that featured five ties and six lead changes, it was No. 9 seed Rogers State (Okla.) that got the key hit in the end to eliminate No. 7 seed Point Park University, 8-6, in the second round of the NAIA World Series Loser's Bracket on Tuesday afternoon at Harris Field.
For Point Park (53-11), its season ends after going 2-2 in the 11th World Series trip in school history. For Rogers State (48-15), it advances to the final four teams and bumps its record to 3-1 in the tournament.
Rogers State will be in a semifinal game on Wednesday at 3 or 6:30 p.m. The semifinal matchups are TBA until all three games are complete on Tuesday. By making it this far, Point Park finished in the top six teams in the tournament.
Point Park set a school record for most wins (53) and most games played (64) this year, but could not extend things due to 12 runners left on base. The Pioneers had 14 hits and drew five walks, but Rogers State stayed alive despite getting only seven hits.
The Pioneers missed some opportunities for key hits, but at the same time, the Rogers State defense took a couple of runs off the scoreboard with great plays. In the end, it was Rogers State who scraped across enough runs to win. The Hillcats had just seven hits -- which were half as many as Point Park's 14 -- but they took advantage of seven walks, a hit batter and an error.
The Hillcats turned a 6-5 deficit into an 8-6 lead with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. It was Eric Baker's two-run single that produced the eventual, game-winning runs.
In the top of the ninth, Point Park went down in order versus Shawn Spainhoward, the Hillcats' No. 1 starting pitcher who closed out the game in three innings of relief. Spainhoward (11-2), a tough lefty who is now 2-0 in the tournament, was working on three days rest but came into the game with the score tied 5-5 after six innings.
Rogers State got six innings out of starter Eric Faust, who kept his team in the game despite giving up 11 hits and walking four. He struck out four and gave up five runs.
Point Park starter Manny Perdomo got a no-decision in 5.1 innings of work. The sophomore right-hander from Hialeah, Fla., gave up only three hits and was charged with five runs (three earned). Perdomo walked five, hit a batter and stuck out one.
Closer Mike Tullio (6-5) came on with one out in the sixth and eventually took the loss in 2.2 innings.Tullio, the Pioneers' closer, gave up three runs on four hits, walked two and struck out none.
Tullio entered a jam in the sixth, and he induced an odd double play to get out of it with only one run being scored and keeping the score tied 5-5. With runners at second and third with one out, RSU's Brandon Bargas flied to center for the second out. Point Park center fielder Tom Pasinski then pegged Keith Poverud at third base before Cade McKewon could cross homeplate, nullifying a chance for a run.
Point Park took a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh when Tom Pasinski's double and Don McDuffee's infield single put runners at first and third with one out. Dillon Sauers then grounded to third, and Pasinski beat a close play to the plate for the lead.
Point Park had plenty of chances to break the game open in the early innings, but things remained tight throughout with the Hillcats, who has played games close to the vest all tournament long.
McDuffee had a key, two-out single to drive in the first run of the game in the Point Park second inning. The Pioneers could've had more, but McDuffee was thrown out at home when Tom Birko singled to center two batters later.
Rogers State took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second when Bargas stroked a two-run single with two outs. An earlier error kept the inning alive for both of those runs to be unearned.
Point Park took a 4-2 lead with three runs in the third, and Marlon Leyva's two-run, line-drive homer to left highlighted the inning. Earlier in the frame, Rob Novia singled, moved to second on an errant pick-off throw and scored on Ossie Alfonzo's RBI base hit.
Rogers State tied things up at 4-4 with a couple of runs in the third, and they did it without a hit. The Hillcats used two walks, and a hit batter to load the bases, and that was followed up by Randy Ramirez's run-scoring groundout. The other run came home on the back end of a first-and-third double steal, although the runner at first was retired in a rundown.
Point Park had a brief lead of 5-4 with a single run in the sixth. Novia singled, Lee Bodnar doubled and Alfonzo lifted a sacrifice fly to produce the tally.
But Rogers State tied the game once again with a run the bottom of the sixth. A walk and a single with one out chased Perdomo. Although Tullio gave up an RBI single to Ramirez to tie it at 5-5, the double play with the flyout to center and the tag out at third kept things tied at 5-5.
The Hillcats' resilence continued in the bottom of the eighth as they scored the eventual winning runs. The inning started with a lead-off single by Cody Campbell and a walk to Ramirez. Then McKewon's base hit found a hole in the left side of the infield as he originally squared to bunt but then ripped a liner through the moving infielders.
That tied things up at 6-6, and the inning was just getting started. Keith Poverud laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third. Then Brandon Bargas delivered the game-winning hit, a smacked shot up the middle that Tullio nearly batted down. But it got through to the outfield and plated the eventual winning runs.
Down to its last chance and facing elimination versus a very tough pitcher, Point Park went down in order in the top of the ninth. Rogers State pitcher Shawn Spainhoward (11-2), the Hillcats' No. 1 starter, got the win in 3.0 innings of work. He gave up only three hits and one run to improve to 2-0 in the tournament and seal a berth in the semifinals for his team.Point Park's 14-hit performance included Rob Novia going 3 for 4 with two runs. Ossie Alfonzo was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and was 9 for 17 with eight RBIs in the four tournament games. Leyva was 2 for 3 with two RBIs, two runs and his second homer of the year. McDuffee and Sauers were both 2 for 5.
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