No. 14 Point Park holds off Rio baseball

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

BUTLER, Pa. — Fourteenth-ranked Point Park University scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and then survived a rally by the University of Rio Grande in the top of the ninth for a 5-4 win over the RedStorm, Saturday afternoon, in River States Conference baseball play at frigid Kelly Automotive Field.

The game was delayed by four hours at the start as a result of snow.

The Pioneers improved to 26-2 overall and 16-0 in the RSC with the win.

Rio Grande dropped to 16-20 overall and 9-7 in conference play as a result of the loss.

Point Park’s two-run eighth inning snapped a 3-3 deadlock.

Rio senior starter Osvaldo Duran (Guayanilla, P.R.) hit Jake Horew with a pitch to begin the inning and then threw a wild pitch to advance him into scoring position.

Chris Hernandez then reached safely on a sacrifice bunt attempt, while Horew advanced to third, but Horew was forced to hold at third moments later as pinch-runner David Barefoot moved to second when Duran induced Erik Montero into a groundout to first base.

Richard Perez was then intentionally walked to load the bases to set up a force play at any base, but the Pioneers spoiled the plan when Horew scored as Rio failed to turn a would-be inning-ending double-play on Ben Hernstine’s grounder to second.

Duran was lifted in favor of senior reliever Jacob Hastings (Commercial Point, OH), who promptly allowed a single by Billy Kidd which scored Barefoot to make it 5-3.

Hastings escaped any further damage by getting Andres Herrera to hit into an inning-ending force play.

Rio’s ninth-inning rally began with a one-out walk to sophomore Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH). A wild pitch moved him into scoring position and a single up the middle by Dylan Shockley (Minford, OH) brought him home to make it 5-4.

Junior Zac Morris (Heath, OH) came on to run for Shockley, but the rally – and the game – ended moments later when senior Cody Blackburn bounced into a 3-6-3 double-play.

Rio Grande grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a home run by junior David Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.), but the Pioneers grabbed the lead in the bottom of the frame on a Duran wild pitch and an RBI groundout by Hernandez.

The RedStorm tied the contest in the fourth on a triple and subsequent steal of home by sophomore Eli Daniels (Minford, OH) and regained the advantage in the fifth on another home run by Rodriguez – his eighth of the season.

Point Park tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out single by Horew, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.

Duran suffered the loss, allowing five hits and four earned runs over 7-2/3 innings.

Addison Domingo picked up his fourth win in as many decisions in relief for the Pioneers, while Kidd had two hits and Montero added a double for Point Park.

The two teams will close out their weekend series with a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.

The series was originally set to be a doubleheader each day, with the final game not counting toward the RSC standings.

As a result of Saturday’s late start, officials decided to cancel the fourth (non-league) contest.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.