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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Baseball team captures CCAA title

Senior AJ Epstein launches a ball during a game against Sonoma State. Photo credit: Jacob Auby

After barely making the CCAA tournament as the sixth seed, the Chico State baseball team won the CCAA championship game 10-9 over the Cal State East Bay Pioneers on Saturday, May 14.

The title is the program’s first in 10 years and granted the Wildcats an automatic berth into the NCAA West Regional Tournament.

On Sunday, May 15, the team received the fourth seed in the NCAA tournament and will have a CCAA rematch with the third seed Cal Poly Pomona on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Chico State seemed to have a handle on the game until the ninth inning where things got a little shaky.

In the top of the ninth, Chico State added what seemed to be an insurance run after an RBI single by junior Dallas Porter to make the score 10-4.

The Pioneers started their rally in the bottom half of the inning with two quick runs to cut the lead to 10-6. They then launched a three-run home run to bring the game within one run. With everyone on the edge of their seat, junior Zach Smart, who only had six previous appearances all year, shut the door with a ground out to first. The Wildcats burst out of the dugout to celebrate with a good old fashioned dog pile right behind the mound.

Chico State’s junior Dillon Kelley took home the tournament MVP honors, while junior Grant Wright, sophomore Hunter Haworth and senior Cody Bistline were all awarded All-Tournament Team.

This is just another step for the team in the hopeful journey to Cary, North Carolina to play in the NCAA Division II College World Series.

Nick Martinez-Esquibel can be reached at [email protected] or @THENickMartinez on Twitter.

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Nick Martinez-Esquibel
Nick Martinez-Esquibel, Sports Editor

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