Point Loma Nazarene Moves on with 7-2 NCAA Regional Win Over Cal Poly Pomona

PLNU’s Hunter Otjen. Photo credit: Jessica Bronner via plnusealions.com

The top-seeded Point Loma Nazarene baseball team eliminated Cal Poly Pomona Thursday with a 7-2 victory in their opening game in the Division II NCAA Regionals.

The elimination leaves just PLNU (44-7) and No. 4 Northwest Nazarene (31-21) to battle it out in what amounts to a best-of-three series for the right to advance to the Super Regional.

The next game – at PLNU, which is hosting one of the two NCAA west regionals – begins at 11 a.m. Friday with the Sea Lions designated as the visiting team.

Point Loma will be the home team for the second game, scheduled for 2 p.m. If needed, the teams will play again Saturday.

Northwest Nazarene, out of Nampa, Idaho, dropped all four games against the Sea Lions in their only meetings this year, in February.

| Bottom 4After Halligan drives in the tying run, Hunter Otjen rips one toward the Pacific for a three-run homer.CPP-1PLNU-4 pic.twitter.com/AXxcmQw1vv

— PLNU Sea Lions (@PLNUSeaLions) May 19, 2022

Behind Baxter Halligan, the Region and PacWest Player and Pitcher of the Year, the Sea Lions used their slugging prowess to overtake Cal Poly Pomona (35-19).

Down 1-0 in the fourth inning, Halligan tied the game with an RBI single. Two batters later, Hunter Otjen, a Point Loma High alum, blasted a three-run homer to give the Sea Lions a 4-1 lead.

The Broncos pulled closer at 4-2 in the top of the fifth, but in the next inning, Sea Lion Easton Waterman banged his own double off the left-field wall, setting up Jack Malone, who followed with a two-run homer to make it 7-2.

Hard-throwing lefty Zach Veen relieved Halligan and breezed through the Pomona lineup, throwing 27 of 34 pitches for strikes. Veen went three innings, striking out two on the way to his fifth save.

In addition, with Halligan’s 12th win, he broke the PacWest conference record for single-season victories, while supporting his own cause at the plate with three hits.

| Top 6Baxter Halligan induces the 4-6-3 double play to end 6 strong innings of work.CPP-2PLNU-4 pic.twitter.com/CbdAaKDm49

— PLNU Sea Lions (@PLNUSeaLions) May 19, 2022