PLNU Wins College World Series Opener

Sea Lions blow out Illinois-Springfield to open their first CWS

PLNU Athletics

Point Loma Nazarene University won 48 games, good enough to make the program's first trip to the Division-II College World Series and earn the #2 seed. But, until a team experiences a CWS environment you're not sure how they're going to react.

It was like they do this all the time.

The Sea Lions opened the tournament with an 8-1 blowout of Illinois-Springfield on Saturday afternoon in Cary, NC. They fell behind 1-0 in the 1st inning but that deficit lasted all of three batters.

The first four hitters in the lineup singled, with Baxter Halligan and Hunter Otjen both driving in runs, and Jakob Christian's ground ball brought in another to put the Sea Lions on top 3-1. Halligan and the bullpen made it stand up.

The Pac West Conference Pitcher of the Year AND Player of the Year started on the mound and tossed 6.0 innings of 1-run ball with four punchouts. He also had three hits and drove in two runs at the plate, a Shohei Ohtani-type of performance.

When he left Zachary Veen went 1.1 shutout innings and Cole Hillier got the final five outs, needing just 17 pitches to do it. To give their closer a little more breathing room Point Loma scored four times in the 8th inning, the last two coming on a bases loaded single by Otto Kemp.

Giving up just one run to UIS is an amazing feat. The Prairie Stars finished 4th in the nation in scoring and were only held to one run one other time this year, in the 2nd game of the season. The old baseball adage that good pitching beats good hitting held true. Point Loma's pitching staff led the country in shutouts and WHIP, and finished 2nd in ERA.

Their next opponent looks eerily similar to the one they just beat. On Monday the Sea Lions play the #3 seed, Southern Arkansas. Both the Muleriders and the Prairie Stars played 57 games and scored exactly 588 runs.

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