PORTSMOUTH – Baseball outlasted No. 19 Point Park in the opening game of its doubleheader Friday to split the midweek non-conference matchup. In a game where both doubleheaders were scheduled to go seven innings, the Bears (14-11) secured a 7-6 win with a run in the bottom of the seventh and bottom of the 10th inning to walk-off with a victory. The Pioneers (10-7) responded with an 8-0 victory during the second game.
Ryan Valentine (JR, Springboro, Ohio) got his first career start for the Bears on the mound to start the day. He responded by posting a pair of zeroes in his first two innings of work. Point Park opened the scoring for both sides in the top of the third when Jonathan Tasis led off the inning with a home run over the left field fence.
After not getting a hit the first time through the lineup, Blake Maines (FR, Burlington, Ky.) singled with one out in the fourth, while Jake Cain (SO, Cold Spring, Ky.) doubled to put runners on second and third. Dalton Tinsley (JR, Kokomo, Ind.) then put the Bears on top with a three-run home run over the right field wall to make it 3-1 after four innings.
The Pioneers loaded the bases in the fifth with two singles and a walk. They pushed the first run across with an RBI groundout. However, they would get no more as Brandon Bonar (SO, Chillicothe, Ohio) came on to strand the runners on the corners and keep SSU up 3-2. Point Park would however take the lead in the sixth inning with five singles that scored four runs as they led 6-3 after the half inning.
Once again, Tinsley provided the immediate answer for the Bears as he belted his second home run of the day, this one a two-run home run after Cain had again doubled to start the inning. The home run was his fourth of the season and gave him five RBI in the opening game.
Leading 6-5 heading into the seventh, the Pioneers put runners on second and third with one out, but Cain come on to pitch and induced a shallow fly to left field and got the next batter looking at strike three to end Point Park's threat. Point Park brought in closer Jon Corcoran to try and finish the game. However, Maines would greet him with a one out triple to put himself in scoring position. Mitchell Lendenski (SO, Loveland, Ohio) came on to run for him and eventually scored after an RBI single from Cain after Cain had just finished the top half of the inning on the mound.
Mason Wisner (JR, Bay Village, Ohio) came on to pitch for the Bears in the top of the eight and stranded two runners with a strikeout. He then left Point Park with the bases loaded after another swinging punch out in the ninth inning. In the 10th inning, he allowed a leadoff walk but struck out two more before getting a pop up on the infield.
Shawnee state was finally able to push the game's winning run across in the bottom half of the 10th. Wisner worked a walk of his own to start the inning. After a strikeout, Ryan Queener (SR, Mentor, Ohio) bunted for what turned into a base hit. Brady Hightchew (SO, Newport, Ky.) would also walk to load the bases. Brady Page (JR, Las Vegas, Nev.) then stepped in and worked the count to 3-1. He fouled off a pair of pitches before taking the eighth pitch of his at-bat for a ball to force in the game-winning run.
Wisner picked up the win on the mound for the Bears to improve to 3-0 on the season. He went three innings and allowed two hits and two walks, while striking out six batters. Tinsley and Cain each finished the opening game with three hits as the two sides combined for 29 hits over the course of the game.
After walking off with a win in the opening game, Point Park pounced quickly in the second game. A double play helped the Bears retire Point Park in the first. However, the Pioneers would score in each of the next three innings to provide all the offense they would need.
After a leadoff triple and RBI groundout to start the second inning, Point Park put two more runners on base via free passes and both of those runners would come around to score, making it 3-0 after two full innings.
Point Park added four more runs in the third with two runners reaching on walks and another being hit by pitch, while the Pioneers came up with three hits. The Pioneers added their final run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the fifth to make it 8-0.
After recording 14 hits in the opening game, Shawnee State did not have an answer for the Pioneers' game two starter Jake Horew as he threw a complete game, allowing just three hits over his seven innings of work.
Baseball will be back in action this Friday as it takes on No. 23 Georgetown inside Branch Rickey Park. That three-game MSC series will open with a single game Friday at 4 p.m. Saturday's doubleheader against the Tigers will begin at noon.