MASON, Ohio --- Defending National Champion California Baptist University looked every bit the part as the top seed in their quest to repeat, getting a five-inning, mercy-rule win in the opener and then capping off the first day of pool play at the NCCAA World Series with a three-hit shutout in the nightcap.
The Lancers defeated eighth-seed Cedarville 15-2 in the afternoon and then blanked fifth-seed Southeastern 3-0 to complete a perfect 2-0 day and improve to 39-18 on the season.
In the opening game, the Lancers jumped all over Cedarville starter Rob Nesteroff for seven runs in the first three innings to open a 7-1 lead. Two innings late, the Lancers added eight more to score 15 runs in five innings invoking the tournament’s 10-run mercy rule.
Antonio Chavarria was 3 for 4 with his ninth homer of the season to lead off the Lancers’ sixth-run fifth. He also singled and scored in the first, walked in the second and had an RBI single in the third.
Matt Maranti had two hits, two RBI and scored twice. Matt Daugherty was 2 for 3.
The Lancers started the scoring when Luke Esquerra led off the game with a double down the left field line. Chavarria then singled and Blair Moore’s groundout plated Esquerra. Two batters later, Daugherty singled in Chavarria.
Zach Esquerra and Marnati had RBI singles in the second as the Lancers took a 6-1 lead.
Andy Crowley also homered for the first time this year, a two-run shot in the fourth that gave the Lancers a 9-1 lead.
Jon Bengard wasn’t as sharp as he has been but was still strong enough to get his 13th win of the season. Bengard (13-1) went four innings, giving up six hits and two runs. He didn’t strike a batter out and remains five strikeouts shy of tying the program’s single-season record of 118.
Meanwhile, in the nightcap, freshman Adam Hofacket kept the Southeastern bats off balance all night. Hofacket (5-4) allowed just three singles in his fourth complete-game effort of the year to get his first-career shutout. He struck out five and walked two. Just three Southeastern runners reached second base.
The Lancers had all the offense they needed in the first inning when Chavarria hit a one-out double on the first pitch he saw to right center. Moore then hit a two-run homer to make it 2-0.
Fire starter Sergio Pita settled in and kept the Lancers off the board until the seventh inning when Mark Sanchez collected his third hit of the game with a leadoff single. Luke Esquerra then walked and was forced out by a Chavarria grounder to third. With runners at the corners and one out, the Lancers executed a double steal, and pinch-runner Steven Pena stole home to give the Lancers a 3-0 lead.
In addition to three hits from Sanchez, Chavarria and Moore both had two hits. They were the only three Lancers to get a hit against Pita.
The Lancers continue their quest to repeat Thursday with another pair of games. They play ninth-seed Oklahoma Christian at 10 a.m. (Pacific) and then fourth-seed Mt. Vernon Nazarene at 4 p.m. (Pacific). The top two teams from each pool advance to Friday’s semifinals.
Pool A Results - Wednesday
Southeastern d. Mt. Vernon Nazarene 6-5
CBU d. Cedarville 15-2
Mt. Vernon d. Oklahoma Christian 7-3
CBU d. Southeastern 3-0
Pool A Standings
Mt. Vernon Nazarene 1-1
Oklahoma Christian 0-1