Mustang News Staff Report
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The No. 6 Cal Poly baseball team defeated Cal State Northridge 3-2 on Sunday to give the Mustangs their first-ever Big West Conference title and the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA postseason.
Coupled with Cal State Fullerton’s sweep of second-place UC Irvine, the Mustangs won the championship outright and put themselves in a good position to host a NCAA regional starting May 30. Before Cal Poly’s sweep this weekend, PerfectGame.org projected that the Mustangs would host Sacramento State, Pepperdine and San Diego State.
The Mustangs finished the year 45-10 overall — its highest single-season win total in school history — and 19-5 in Big West play.
After suffering a season-long four-game losing streak from April 26 to May 2, the Mustangs went on to win nine of their final 10 games, including their last six games.
On Sunday, senior catcher Chris Hoo, sophomore shortstop Peter Van Gansen and sophomore first baseman John Schuknecht notched the RBIs for Cal Poly, while junior reliever Danny Zandona (4-0) earned the win on the mound. Junior left fielder Zack Zehner led the Mustangs at the plate with three hits on the day.
The Matadors made it interesting, scoring a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to close the deficit to one, but junior reliever Reed Reilly stranded the bases loaded to finish the game.
This season will mark the third time in program history that Cal Poly made the postseason, after making it in 2009 and 2013.
Regional sites will be announced on May 25 at 6 p.m. and the selection show — where all 64 teams competing in the tournament will be revealed — is scheduled for May 26 at 9 a.m on ESPNU. Tickets will be made available to the public once the sites are selected.
The NCAA Tournament consists of 16 regional sites where four teams compete in a double-elimination tournament. The winner of the regional advances to a Super Regional, a three-game series against another regional winner. The eight Super Regional victors advance to Omaha, Neb. for the College World Series, where the teams are split into four-team brackets and compete in another double-elimination round. The winners of those brackets move on to a three-game series to decide the national champion.
Stephan Teodosescu contributed to this report.