And with another title.
Playing the program's final GSAC regular-season game, Brian Sharp and Kevin Odom had RBI singles, and Devyn Rivera threw his fifth complete game of the season and worked out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the seventh to lift the third-ranked Lancers to a 2-1 victory over Point Loma Nazarene, sealing the Lancers' second straight conference crown and third in the past six years.
CBU is transitioning to NCAA Division II next season.
The win in the nightcap erased the disappointment of a 6-2 loss in the opening game of the doubleheader that set up the dramatic second game. The Lancers' opening-game loss coupled with Biola's opening-game win over The Master's put CBU and Biola in a dead tie for first place heading into the final game.
The Lancers' nightcap win clinched no worse than a share of the title and the right to host the GSAC Tournament, which begins Tuesday, but less than an hour later, the Lancers learned that The Master's beat Biola, 3-2 in eight innings of their nightcap, giving the Lancers the title outright.
"This one doesn't mean more (than last year's), but it was definitely more difficult," said CBU Head Coach Gary Adcock, who has led the Lancers to back-to-back 40-win seasons. "There was an 11-game league span where we went 4-7. We weren't playing well, our reigning GSAC Pitcher of the Year went down and we had some other things going on. We worked for this one, and it makes it satisfying."
The split makes the Lancers 41-12 overall, 26-10 GSAC. The Sea Lions fall to 27-20, 19-17. Both teams will play in the GSAC Tournament at Totman Stadium. The top-seed Lancers will host Azusa Pacific Tuesday at 9 a.m.
With the Lancers clinging to a 2-1 lead and needing just three outs for the title, the Sea Lions put together one final rally against Rivera, and nearly stole it.
Clinton Harwick led off with a single through the right side and was sacrifice to second. Rivera then issues back-to-back walks to Jack Diamond and Allen Boyer, barely missing on a couple of pitches. Tyler Kuehl, who had singled in the first, crushed a 1-1 pitch down the left field line that appeared to be the game-winner.
Six inches to the right and it would have been. It landed foul.
After working the count to 2-2, Rivera got Kuehl to hit into a routine 6-4-3 double play, the game's only double play, and for the second year in a row the Lancers erupted into a wild celebration in the middle of the infield at Carrol B. Land Stadium in San Diego.
"It felt great being on the bottom of that pile," said Rivera. "I knew I was just one ground ball away from getting us this win," said Rivera. "I was hoping that one would go foul. I was pushing it foul. It definitely gave me a little something extra on those last two pitches."
"Devyn has our most explosive stuff, and his stuff was moving today, and as a result he's tough to hit," said Adcock. "He's the guy we want in that situation, but we're not having this conversation if that foul ball was six inches the other way. That's why I love baseball. He threw a great 2-2 changeup to roll up the double play right after Kuehl smokes one down the line."
Rivera picked up his ninth victory to move to 9-2, giving the Lancers a pair of nine-game winners for the second straight year as well. He scattered six singles and struck out two, including a big strikeout of Shain Stoner in the sixth after Stoner hit a booming ball to left that would have been a game-tying homer but instead hooked foul.
Sharp put the Lancers on the board against Kenny Houser (4-3) with an RBI single in the third. The Lancers could have tacked on more as Sharp and Matt Marnati executed a double steal, but Houser struck out Kevin Odom to end the threat in the third.
Odom got his revenge in the fifth, however, as he followed up a walk to Ryan Douglass and back-to-back singles by Marnati and Sharp with a one-out, bases loaded single of his own, scoring Douglass and giving Rivera a much-needed second run.
The Sea Lions cut the deficit in half on an Edgar Molina single in the sixth, but Rivera got Rashad Taylor, who had three homers in the first two games of the series, to ground out softly to Cole Bullard at second on the first pitch to end the inning.
Both teams had six hits. Sharp had two of them, going 2-for-2 with a pair of stolen bases and a big RBI.
The opener was all Point Loma Nazarene as Scott Stidham hit a three-run shot in the first to give the Sea Lions a 3-0 lead against Erik Wallace (6-4). They tacked on two more in the fourth when Wallace hit Harwick with the bases loaded and another run scored on a double play.
The Lancers got one back on an RBI double by Sharp in the sixth to get within 5-1, but doubles in the sixth by Molina and Harwick made it 6-1.
Wallace went six innings, giving up seven hits and six runs. He also walked three and struck out three. Todd Jones finished it up with two scoreless innings.
The Lancers had just six hits against Jack Archie (7-1) and left seven runners on base, including two in the second and ninth.
Even still, they were able to rebound and win the title.
"We knew that Biola had won and we had lost so we were tied, but the fact remained we still needed to win the next one," said Adcock. "We can't be the team that plays disappointed. We couldn't worry about what Biola did or was going to do, because we couldn't let the situation change the way we played, and for the most part today we did that. We talked all year about winning each series, and we were able to do that again this week."