By River States Conference Sports Information
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio -- No. 2 seed IU Southeast put together an amazing rally with nine runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat No. 1 seed Point Park University, 13-8, in the first game of the day Monday at the River States Conference Baseball Tournament from VA Memorial Stadium, home of the Chillicothe Paints.
IU Southeast (45-12) trailed, 8-4, as it came to bat in the last of the eighth. After eight hits and 14 batters sent to the plate, the Grenadiers were up 13-8, and Point Park (36-19) was down to its last three outs.
The victory pushed IU Southeast into the next round, where it will play No. 4 Midway University Monday night at 7 p.m. The Grenadiers need to win that game, a rematch of Sunday night's 16-11 loss to the Eagles, to advance to Tuesday's championship round.
In a back-and-forth game, IU Southeast led 4-0 on a two-run homer by Richard Rodriguez in the fourth. Point Park tied it up with a four-run rally in the fifth. The tying hit was a three-run triple by Manny Lopez.
Point Park put together another four-run inning in the sixth for an 8-4 lead. There were five hits in the inning with Stefan Mrkonja driving in two with a single and Chris Hernandez bringing home two more with a double.
IU Southeast's rally in the eighth started with four straight hits by Tanner Leenknecht, Clay Benefield, Matt Volz and pinch hitter Julian Flannary, and that made the score 8-6. Hector Marmol singled two batters later to bring the score to 8-7. Cody Maloon delivered the go-ahead hit, a two-run double to left. Benefield, who was 4 for 5 with four RBIs and four runs, later ripped a three-run double as the lead grew to 13-9.
Kyle Hawkins (1-1) got the victory and pitched the final 3.2 innings for IU Southeast. The Grenadiers were looking for a reliever to stop the run by Point Park, and Hawkins did so. He was the third reliever to come in after starter Brandon Nylin left with no outs in the fifth. Hawkins gave up just two hits in his scoreless outing, which held things at 8-4 until the Grenadiers rally came. He gave up a one-out single in the ninth but got a double play to end it.
Point Park's Addison Domingo (10-4) took the loss and pitched 7.1 innings. He shook off the early four runs against him and didn't run until trouble again until the eighth. He ended up with six strikeouts and three walks. IU Southeast collected 16 hits compared to 11 for Point Park.
The Pioneers ended the year at 36-19 overall, and they were the RSC regular-season champions at 26-6 RSC. It was the fourth time in five years in the conference that Point Park took first place in the regular season.
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