PITTSBURGH -- It's a battle for first place in the league for when No. 25 IU Southeast visits Point Park University this weekend for the River States Conference Baseball Games of the Week Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh.
In a matchup of the top teams in the standings, Point Park (28-15, 20-4 RSC) holds a 1.0 -game lead over IU Southeast (34-9, 19-5 RSC) with two weeks to go. The series winner between the Pioneers and Grenadiers will likely have the inside track to the RSC regular season championship and the top playoff seed. Point Park finishes up next week with Brescia while IU Southeast faces Cincinnati Christian.
The series gets underway Friday at 1 p.m. and continues Saturday at 12 p.m. with doubleheaders each day at Point Park Field at Green Tree Park. Live broadcast coverage will be available on Stretch Internet courtesy of Point Park with live audio on Friday and live video on Saturday. Follow live stats on Dakstats. Follow the series on Twitter with hashtags #RSCgotw and #RSCBASEBALL and at @RiverStatesConf and @RSCScores.
Point Park and IU Southeast have both been at the top of the conference standings for the last many years, and they are once again meeting in key regular-season games late in the year that have heavy implications. Point Park leads the all-time series between the schools, 13-10, which began in 2012. IU Southeast has won six in a row in the matchup, and Point Park holds an edge of 5-2 in playoff matchups. The Pioneers and Grenadiers have met in the playoffs each of the last five years with one of the teams having their season end at the hands of the other each time during that span.
The Pioneers and Grenadiers are the top two hitting teams in the RSC with Point Park leading the league at .329 and IU Southeast coming in at .315 for team batting average. It is also a matchup of the top two fielding teams in the conference with Point Park first and IU Southeast second. The pitching staffs are close in the standings as well with IU Southeast ranking third in team ERA at 3.98 and Point Park fourth at 4.23.
Point Park's top bat is first baseman Emmanuel Lopez at .402 with 7 HR and 47 RBI. Center fielder Stefan Mrkonja (.358, 8 HR, 39 RBIs) leads the team in hits. The Pioneers pitching staff has Nolan Krivijanski (6-2, 1.98 ERA) and Nicholas Beardsley (4-0, 1.05 ERA) as the top starters.
IU Southeast's offense has Logan Barnes the top hitter in the conference batting .424 with 32 RBIs. Hector Marmol (.377, 2 HR, 44 RBIs) is the top run-producer. Ryne Underwood (5-1, 3.31 ERA) and Brandon Nylin (6-0, 4.98 ERA) lead the team in innings pitched.