Point Park's playoff hopes, season come to an end with losses at Notre Dame (OH)
April 29, 2010
SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – The Point Park University softball team had its playoff hopes and its season come to an end Thursday with a pair of American Mideast Conference losses at Notre Dame (OH).
The Pioneers (19-11, 8-7 AMC) led the first game, 5-3, but Notre Dame (21-22, 12-4 AMC) scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth on its way to a 7-5 victory.
Point Park’s season came to an end with an 11-3 loss in the nightcap. The game ended after five innings due to the eight-run mercy rule.
Pictured left: Point Park's Amanda Ardinger was 3 for 4 with five RBIs on the day. She closed out the year with a 16-game hitting streak and a .519 batting average.
The Pioneers entered Thursday’s games needing two victories to clinch a playoff spot. A sweep of Notre Dame would have accomplished that feat. Even with the loss in game one, Point Park was not officially eliminated from playoff contention because it still had the possibility of playing a make-up game versus Shawnee State to try and get the playoff-clinching win.
But the loss in game two ended all playoff hopes for the Pioneers. As it is, the make-up game versus league-leading Shawnee State will not be played. Even with a win over the Bears, Point Park can be at best 9-7 in the AMC.
The top four teams in the AMC standings make the playoffs, and the field will be made up of Shawnee State (11-2), Notre Dame (12-4), Walsh (9-5) and Malone (10-6). Walsh will finish its schedule Friday vs. Carlow (2-12 AMC), and the Cavaliers swept both games from Point Park this year.
Point Park missed the AMC playoffs by one game for the second year in a row, and the Pioneers have a record of 41-25 over the last two seasons.
Point Park trailed game one, 3-0, but it came storming back by doing all of its scoring during a five-run fifth.
Freshman Amanda Ardinger (Moon Twp./Moon Area) provided the big hit of the inning -- a three-run double with two outs -- that put Point Park ahead, 5-3. Although Ardinger was cut down between second and third on the play, the damage was done.
Ardinger completed her outstanding freshman season by going 1 for 2 with three RBIs in game one. She followed that up by going 2 for 2 with two RBIs in the second game to close the season on a very-impressive, 16-game hitting streak.
Ardinger finished the year with a batting average of .519 (41 of 79), a figure that will likely ending up leading the AMC. Her slugging percentage of .810 was compiled with 10 doubles, two triples and three home runs.
But after Point Park took its 5-3 lead, Notre Dame responded by scoring four runs – only one of which was earned – in the last of the sixth.
A single and a couple of walks loaded the bases against Point Park starter Kristen Zelenka (Washington/Trinity). An infield error allowed the tying runs to score before a two-run single by Charisse Colston made it 7-5 with one out. Colston was the first batter faced by reliever Kelsey Robertson (Frostburg, Md./Mountain), who left two stranded.
Point Park got the leadoff batter on the seventh when Lindsey Pesanka (Baldwin/Baldwin) singled, but the next batter, Olivia Sorce (Verona/Penn Hills), lined into a double play to end the threat.
Winning pitcher Meredith Harbarger (4-11) worked the last three innings with two strikeouts and no walks. Notre Dame starter Christina Hutchinson gave up three runs on one hit in four innings.
Zelenka worked the first 5.1 innings in taking the loss. The junior right-hander struck out four, walked three and only three of the seven runs charged to her were earned.
Point Park’s Danielle Dorunda (Warren/Warren) had a pair of doubles, including one to start the five-run fifth, to account for two of Point Park’s five hits. The freshman third baseman was second on the team in hitting at .382 (34 of 89), and she increased her team-leading RBI total to 24 by driving in a run in the final game.
In the second game of the day, Point Park fell behind, 5-0, after one inning, and Notre Dame was ahead, 11-2, after four. Point Park managed a run in the top of the fifth, but it could not cut into the eight-run lead to extend the game.
Notre Dame got five of its 10 hits in the first inning to take the early lead. The Falcons scored four runs with the help of four errors in the fourth to take their nine-run lead.
Ardinger’s two-run double in the Point Park third briefly cut the deficit to 5-2 until Notre Dame tacked on more runs. Dorunda drove in a run with a single in the fifth.
Next season, Point Park will welcome back every player except seniors Courtney Cain (Homestead/Steel Valley) and Christie Schroeder (Baldwin/Baldwin). The pair of four-year starters hit in the middle of the lineup for the Pioneers.
Point Park’s regular starting lineup throughout the year included four freshmen, and fourth-year coach Michelle Coultas will welcome back her entire pitching staff next year.