Seattle University baseball (35-19, 21-6 WAC) earned their first ever Western Athletic Conference regular season championship with a 6-3 victory over Sacramento State (29-26, 16-11 WAC). The title also marks the first regular season league championship in program history.
"Today was not only a great day for our players but a tremendous way to honor all the teams, families, alums, donors, and our administration for the development and growth of our program over the last seven years," said head coach Donny Harrel.
Seattle U built a significant early lead, 6-0, in the first two innings and were able to hold off the Hornets, who scored just one run apiece in the fourth, fifth, and seventh innings.
In the first, Sean Sutton (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) doubled home Dalton Hurd (Bend, Ore.) and Griffin Andreychuk (Nanaimo, B.C., Canada) for the first pair of runs before Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) and Sutton scored on a bases-loaded Sac State fielding error. In the next inning, Sheldon Stober (Kent, Wash.) hit a one-out two-run bomb to left center to bring Hurd home and put SU up, 6-0.
The Hornets plated their three runs on a James Outman home run in the fourth on the first pitch he faced and a pair of RBI singles from Chris Lewis and Andrew McWilliam in the fifth and seventh.
Janson Junk (Federal Way, Wash.) improved to 6-4 on the mound with the win while Zach Wolf (Dana Hills, Calif.) picked up his 12th save of the season, second of the weekend. At the plate, five different Redhawks tallied multi-hit games.
"This championship really allowed me to reflect on that first 11-39 team we had and their commitment and belief that we could build a championship team here at Seattle U," Harrel continued. "With every team, the belief grew stronger and now it is a reality. This first conference championship is truly for our entire Redhawk family and all those who helped us get to this amazing day."
The Redhawks enter next weekend’s WAC tournament as the No. 1 seed for the second straight season and look for their first ever NCAA berth (SU finished a half game behind regular season champion GCU last year but the ‘Lopes were not eligible for the postseason tournament).
As one of the top two teams in the league tournament, SU has a first day bye and opens play on Thursday at 7 p.m. against the team with the lowest seed advancing from the first round.
The winner of Thursday’s game will play Friday at 7 p.m. with the championship game Saturday at 7 p.m. and an “if necessary” championship game on Sunday at 12 noon.
Stay tuned to GoSeattleU.com and WACsports.com for all the latest updates heading into the 2016 WAC Tournament in Mesa, Ariz.