Despite two comeback wins and a run to the championship game, after the dust settled on the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship Tournament, baseball did not do enough to earn a place in the NCAA West Regional Tournament.
CPP (30-24) missed out on an automatic berth in the tournament by losing 5-1 in the tournament championship to UC San Diego and had to wait until Sunday night to learn its fate.
The team missed out on a spot in the top six of the west and were unable to move up from last week’s ranking of No.8.
The Broncos reached the championship thanks to a 10-run comeback in the previous round against Cal State Los Angeles (28-24) in an elimination game.
Heading into the seventh inning, the Broncos looked like they were going home, trailing 11-1.
“We were just trying to stay positive and just see if we can get the tying run to the plate and we needed to be disciplined at the plate.
“We put good at-bats together, next thing you know we were one run away and Cody Martin homered, it was unreal,” said coach Randy Betten.
The rally started in the seventh when the Broncos scored two runs to cut the lead to eight.
Down 11-3, with momentum on their side, the Broncos looked to continue to cut their deficit.
Senior center fielder Jacob Bernardy started the scoring in the eighth with a two-run double.
A couple of batters later down 11-5, junior designated hitter Nic Hernandez hit a two-run double of his own cutting the deficit to just four.
With two outs, the Broncos managed to load the bases with the tying run at the plate in junior first baseman Logan Gopperton.
With a 3-2 count, Gopperton cleared the bases with a double to right field that was just inches away from being a grand slam.
Down by one run heading to the top of the ninth, the Broncos were down to their final three outs.
Sophomore left fielder Brennan McKenzie started the inning with a single, getting the tying run on base with no outs.
After a failed bunt attempt by Bernardy, Betten went to senior catcher Cody Martin to pinch hit.
Martin is usually a starter, but injuries have plagued the catcher from getting on the field.
Martin looking to get something to hit, sent a two-run home run to right field to give the Broncos the lead and the win.
The 13-11 win sent the Broncos to the championship game on Saturday.
The Broncos faced UC San Diego (38-15) who had not lost in the tournament meaning to win the tournament the Broncos would have to beat them twice.
The Tritons only needed to win one game to secure the championship.
Hernandez hit a solo home run to center-right field in the first inning to give the Broncos an early 1-0 lead.
“I just went up there trying to be relaxed and see a fastball inside that I could get a swing on and it ended up going out,” said Hernandez.
The solo shot turned out to be the only run the Broncos scored as the Tritons scored three runs in the third and two runs in the fourth.
Looking for another comeback the Broncos loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with McKenzie representing the tying run at the plate.
On a 3-2 count, McKenzie struck out looking to end the game.
The Broncos were out hit 10-6 and left nine men on base.
Needing to make a deep run in the tournament to qualify for the NCAA tournament the Broncos faced No. 3 seed Chico State to start the tournament and lost 4-3.
Junior Tim Holdgrafer pitched eight innings allowing three runs on five hits and struck out eight.
The Broncos started the game with two runs in the first.
The game looked to be a pitcher’s duel, but the Wildcats tied the game in the third inning via a two-run home run by Kyle Blakeman.
The game stayed at 2-2 until the seventh when Blakeman singled in a run to give the Wildcats the 3-2 lead.
In the top of the ninth, on a 1-1 count, Hernandez hit a home run to right field to tie the game.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Wildcats loaded the bases.
With two outs junior pitcher Darin May threw a wild pitch allowing the winning run to score.
The loss to Chico proved costly as the Wildcats took the sixth and final spot in the West Regional over the Broncos.
The CCAA Tournament is a double-elimination competition that meant CPP played on the following day.
Facing elimination, the Broncos defeated No. 1 seeded Cal State Monterey Bay (38-16) 12-5 on Thursday afternoon.
Four different Broncos registered multi-hit games as part of the rout.
The Broncos turned to senior ace Ryan Alsworth to keep the season going.
Alsworth pitched seven innings allowing four runs on six hits while striking out six.
“I thought we played really well, both offensively and defensively. The big thing is keeping the ball down and letting the hitters get themselves out, and I knew our offense would pick me up,” said Alsworth.
Alsworth gave up a first inning home run to designated hitter Kyle Czaplak that put the Otters up 1-0.
An RBI single by senior second baseman leveled the score in the second inning.
Graddy went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs.
With a 1-1 tie heading to the bottom of the third, the Broncos broke the game open by scoring six runs in the inning highlighted by Bernardy’s two-run single.
Leading 8-1, Alsworth gave up a two-run home run to get the Otters back into the game down 8-3.
The Broncos pushed their lead to 12 by scoring two runs in the seventh and eighth inning.
Junior left fielder Patrick Flynn finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs.
The win against the eventual West Region’s No.1 seed was not enough to make up for the Broncos’ body of work in the regular season.
The team finished fourth in the CCAA.
Last season, the West Regional was held at Azusa Pacific and the Broncos beat lost two straight games after beating No.1 ranked Chico State.
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