HAYWARD, Calif. --- No. 23-ranked California Baptist University kept its eyes on the prize and took care of business once again, beating Holy Names 8-3 and 9-1 (six innings) Thursday afternoon for its second PacWest championship.
"That's all the hard work you've put in to be champions," said head coach Bill Baber to his team after the second game. "Nobody in the PacWest thought we'd be champions, they didn't pick us first. They didn't think we could do it."
The Lancers conclude the regular season with a 43-11 overall record and 27-5 in conference, sharing the title with Dixie State. The Hawks fall to 12-39 on the season and 5-25 in the PacWest.
Multiple Lancers finished the day batting over .400, led by Krista Mann's 4-for-6 performance with two runs and three RBIs. Jacque Lopez went 5-for-8 at the plate, scoring two runs and batting in two others, while Savannah Miller went 4-for-8 with three runs and an RBI. Jordan Mowatt also provided a trigger on offense, finishing the day 3-for-7 with one run and three RBIs.
CBU started things off in the very first inning of the day by scoring three runs right off the bat. Marshean August beat out a throw to first and Krista Mann doubled to left center to score the leadoff runner and advanced to third on a Hawk error. A passed ball allowed Mann to give CBU an early 2-0 lead with just one out before Kailey Willingham plated the third run off another HNU error.
HNU threatened in the bottom of the second, loading up the bases with two outs, but the Lancers squashed the danger as Ashley DeVaere grabbed a pop fly.
In the top of the fourth, CBU added two more runs to its tally as Mowatt knocked her first double of the day to score DeVaere. The Lancers tacked on another run with two outs as Mann doubled to give Marshean August the green light to touch home plate.
The Hawks made things interesting in the bottom of the fifth, putting three runs up on the board off four hits.
Determined to not let the game get out of hand, the Lancers responded right back in their next chance at the plate to put back its cushion. DeVaere led the inning off with a free walk to first on ball four and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Rachel Meyer. Heather Smith took over running for DeVaere and Mowatt sent her home by blasting a triple to right. With aggressive base running, Mowatt took advantage of another Hawk error to slide safely home and put CBU in front 7-3.
The Lancers added one more run in their final plate appearance of the first game off consecutive doubles. Lopez started with a double to center and DeVaere followed in similar fashion to send Lopez in, capping the score at 8-3.
Back on defense, London Miller ended the game with a diving catch in right field and catching the runner on first off the bag. The win gives Belinda Renne her 26th victory from the circle, the most in the PacWest and fourth in NCAA Division II.
With one win away from their second PacWest championship, the Lancers jumped on the board off two solo shots in the second and third innings of the nightcap. London Miller knocked it out of the park first and her sister Savannah Miller followed in the third to give CBU a 2-0 lead.
Once again, however, HNU managed to grab some hope as the Hawks put the game within one in the bottom of the fourth. The Hawks could have added more, but Lopez dove to catch a line drive and caught the HNU runner off the bag at first to end the inning.
"Jacque's double play was awesome and started everything for us," said Baber. "When this team takes off, this team takes off."
CBU took off in the next half inning, exploding to take a commanding 8-1 lead. August led the Lancers off with a double to right center and made her way to third on a passed ball. Mann found a hole up the middle for an RBI base hit to score August.
With runners in scoring positions on second and third, London Miller singled up the middle to score one and advanced to second on the throw. Willingham took ball four to load up the bases with no outs and Lopez sent a blooper to left to add another to the CBU tally.
Still with bases loaded and no outs, DeVaere took a rogue pitch to the body to advance the runners a base, scoring London Miller and giving CBU a 6-1 lead. A fielder's choice gave HNU one out, but also gave the visitors yet another run, inching closer to the eight-run danger zone at 7-1. Mowatt singled to score Lopez, putting the Lancers one run away from an early inning victory.
The Hawks managed to grab the third out, but came up empty handed at the plate to put CBU back on the attack in the top of the sixth. Savannah Miller doubled to center to start the inning and scored the final run of the day off a base hit from Lopez.
In the bottom half of the frame and feeling pressure to score one run to keep the game alive for another inning, HNU couldn't put together any offense. Kayla Hatch struck the first batter out, followed by a fly ball to right field and a routine grounder to short to give CBU the 9-1 six-inning victory and the PacWest championship.
CBU--which is ranked third in the NCAA Division II West Region--finds out who and where it plays next on Monday, May 5, at 7 a.m. with the NCAA Division II Championship Selection Show. Fans can watch the selection here: http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule.