Point Park just outside of NAIA Baseball Preseason Top 25 Poll (Nov. 15, 2011)
Nov. 15, 2011
PITTSBURGH -- The Point Park University baseball team begins the season rated just outside the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll that was released by the national office Tuesday. And when the Pioneers begin their 55-game schedule Feb. 24, they will get a chance to prove if they deserve to be mentioned in the national rankings.
The Pioneers are one vote shy of cracking the national rankings and are rated by NAIA coaches as the 26th-best team in the country. Point Park, under third year coach Loren Torres, was 38-13 last year when it was the first team left out of the at-large bids to the NAIA national tournament. The Pioneers were ranked #23 in the final NAIA Top 25 poll of the 2011 season.
Point Park is just one vote behind NAIA preseason #25 Taylor (Ind.), which garnered 94 votes to Point Park's 93. Taylor is one of three teams that are new to the rankings from the final poll of the 2011 season. Also new to the poll is #23 Madonna (Mich.), #18 Tennessee Wesleyan and #2 Concordia (Calif.), which is the defending national champion after being unranked in the final poll of last year.
The Pioneers are one of three teams that dropped out of the previous rankings with the others being Brewton Parker (Ga.) and Culver-Stockton (Mo.).
Point Park begins its 55-game schedule with a late-February trip to the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. There the Pioneers will get a chance to prove the if they've been shortchanged in the preseason rankings.
Point Park opens its season Feb. 24 at Martin Methodist (Tenn.) a school that like Point Park is in the 'others receiving votes' section of the preseason poll. Also receiving votes in the poll and rated as the 27th-best team in the nation is Campbellsville (Ky.), which will play host to Point Park on Feb. 26.
Also in the Pioneers' challenging start to the season is a Feb. 25 visit to NAIA preseason #7 and 2010 NAIA national champion Cumberland (Tenn.).
"We are playing a competitive schedule starting with our February trip," said Point Park head coach Loren Torres. "We play two teams that are receiving votes in Campbellsville and Martin Methodist, and also Cumberland, the #7 team in the country and the 2010 national champion. I am looking forward to the challenges that the 2012 season will bring us."
The Pioneers return their entire starting pitching staff including Derek Peluso (7-1, 3.41 ERA), Ryan Loutsenhizer (7-3, 3.34), Sean Clark (7-2, 3.72) and James Monroe (3-3, 6.07) as well as top reliever Mike Tullio (6-0, 0.98, 3 S). Point Park's top returning bats are infielders Lee Bodnar (.351, 6 HRs, 52 RBIs) and Dillon Sauers (.355, 23 RBIs) and outfielder Tom Pasinski (.314, 16 of 21 SBs).
The Pioneers added impact position players such as outfielder Javier Marticorena, the 2010 Florida 6A Player of the Year, catcher Ossie Alfonso, a former player at Miami Dade College, catcher Marlon Leyva, a transfer from St. Thomas University and outfielder Tom Roth, an all-region player at Elgin (IL) CC. Point Park added to its pitching staff with transfers Horacio Acosta from Wabash Valley College, Manny Perdomo of St. Thomas University, Nathaniel Spohn of West Chester, Josh Brooks of Ottawa (Kan.) and others.