No pitcher in the history of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s baseball program has worked more innings than Mark Edeburn.

The Peters Township High School product turned in eight more gritty innings Saturday, but fell just short of leading the Crimson Hawks to their biggest victory in program history.

Edeburn conceded just two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks against No. 4-seeded Point Loma in Game 1 of the NCAA Division II College World Series at USA Baseball Training Complex in Cary, N.C. The right-hander’s efforts were squandered, as fifth-seeded IUP failed to provide its ace with enough timely hitting and was handed a 2-1 loss.

“It stinks,” said Edeburn, who has 262⅓ career innings pitched to his credit, and whose 92⅓ this year are also his school’s single-season record. “We go to an elimination game now. We’ve had our backs against the wall all year, though. I’m comfortable with where we’re at. I think we’re going to turn some heads on Monday.”

IUP (38-17), which was making its first College World Series appearance in program history, next will face No. 1-seeded Central Missouri at 1:30 p.m. Monday in an elimination game.

The Mules were upset by No. 8 Angelo State, the defending national champions, Saturday night, 3-2, in 11 innings.

“We’ve been here before, all year we’ve been underdogs,” said Crimson Hawks fifth-year senior second baseman Harrison Pontoli, who is a Beaver graduate. “We’re just going to continue this underdog story and give it our all on Monday. We believe in ourselves, and I think we can get this job done.”

Point Loma (46-11-1), winners of its 17th Pac West Conference championship this season, advance to take on Angelo State Monday. Point Loma, of San Diego, has qualified for the College World Series twice in the past three years.

Sea Lions coach Justin James said his team’s experience was “huge” in its ability to get off to a quick start at the CWS.

Starting pitcher Dylan Miller was making his second career start in Cary for Point Loma. He improved to 12-2 on the year after allowing just one run and scattering seven hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in seven innings to earn the win against IUP.

“Dylan is a huge competitor, so he gets the juices flowing, and that’s what makes him really good,” James said. “His first start in the World Series in ’22 didn’t go exactly how we wanted it to, but that was just from a little bit of over-throwing. I didn’t get a sense of that at all this entire start.”

IUP left 10 runners on base against Point Loma.

“It was a learning moment for all of our guys that when you practice you do all your stuff because these moments, they matter,” Crimson Hawks coach Steve Kline said. “You need to handle the situation. I just think today we just didn’t handle them well. We didn’t really execute when we had to. We struck out a couple times in big spots. We hit some really bad pop-ups and we couldn’t get bunts down. That’s on me for not getting them mentally prepared for that moment.”

IUP’s biggest moment to take control of the contest came in the top of the eighth.

With the bases loaded and one out, the Crimson Hawks cut the deficit to 2-1 when Brady Yard singled to left field, driving in Pontoli for their team’s lone run.

IUP’s threat was ended in the next at-bat when junior Peyton Johnson popped out to Point Loma first baseman Joey Nicolai, who then threw out Crimson Hawks sophomore Elijah Dunn, a Norwin product, at home after he tagged up and tried to score from third.

Nicolai made the catch in foul territory with his back turned almost completely away from home plate before firing the ball to catcher Tommy Molina to complete the inning-ending double play.

Kline, who was coaching at third, said he made an informed decision to send Dunn after watching the Sea Lions’ pregame warm-ups.

“It was a tough sun, and I just thought the kid’s going to have to really battle and he’s kind of going over his shoulder,” Kline said. “I watched him in warm-ups throw and I was like, ‘Maybe if we get a chance to do it.’

“I kind of tried to push the situation, and I just made the wrong decision.”

The Crimson Hawks also left two runners on base in the ninth against Point Loma closer James Sashin, who earned his 18th save, which is tops in Division II.

“Not being able to get the job done definitely deflates you as a team,” Pontoli said. “It’s just getting back to that execution standpoint. That’s what we’ve just got to get back to and focus on doing the job at the plate and getting those runners in ultimately.”

Pontoli was 2-4 with one walk and one run scored, while Johnson also had two hits to lead IUP.

The day could have belonged, though, to Edeburn, who threw 113 pitches in what might be his final collegiate outing. He only conceded runs in the third on a force-out by Sea Lions leadoff hitter Eric Smelko, which plated Nicolai, and a fifth-inning single by Esai Santos.

“He threw the ball really well,” Kline said. “You think if you only give up two runs you’re going to win a game with him on the mound. We’re just proud of how he pitched and how he composed himself. He never panicked in situations. He kept us in it.”

Edeburn said the opportunity to pitch in the CWS is something he will never forget.

“It was humbling to get the ball and it was an honor,” he said. “Today that feeling sucked. We don’t have to feel like that.

“We’ve had our backs against the wall all year,” he added. “We were counted out of the regional early on. We had to prove it to everyone. That’s all we’ve been doing all year.”

IUP will turn to another former WPIAL product Monday.

Sophomore right-hander Derrick Shields is slated to get the start against Central Missouri, Kline said.

The Mt. Lebanon native — his brother, David, is a Blue Devils senior and highly touted Major League Baseball draft prospect — is 7-4 this season with 66 strikeouts and just 11 walks.

“The kid has been a blessing for us,” Kline said. “Hopefully we can go out and get him some runs and take the pressure off him a little bit.”

John is a copy editor and page designer at the Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

John Santa

John is a copy editor and page designer at the Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at