Chico State beats UC San Diego, headed to finals for ninth time in 18 seasons
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- One could excuse Chico State for being a little patient. After all, the Wildcats have waited a whole year to get their mits on the NCAA Baseball West Region Championship trophy.
"Where's the trophy? Bring out the trophy," yelled head coach Dave Taylor after the Wildcats wrapped up a 3-1 win against UC San Diego..
Eventually they seized the symbol of their accomplishment and soaked in the moment, whooping, hollering and hugging all the while.
"These guys are special to me," said Taylor when asked about his own leap into the dogpile's fray. "They're my players but they'll be good friends of mine down the road as well. This is a moment that will last forever."
The Wildcats were one win away from the regional title last season before losing twice to Grand Canyon on the final day.
Now all of his aches and pains are strictly dogpile related.
Robert Hook threw 3.2 innings of relief for his second win against UC San Diego in as many days and West Region Tournament Most Valuable Player Luke Barker threw a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in as many days as Chico State improved to 43-13.
Ruben Padilla doubled and Eric Angerer came around to score when the center fielder bobbled the ball against the fence for the Wildcats' first run of the day. They took the lead in the seventh when Eric Angerer's grounder went through the wickets of Tritons' second baseman Eric Lewis, allowing Cody Slader to score the go-ahead run. Angerer then drew a throw to first base and Ryne Clark raced home from third to score the final run of the day.
Chico State starter Alex Mistuloff went 4.1 scoreless innings, working out of trouble in each frame.
Barker got Lewis to ground out to second to end the game and the dogpile ensued. He's hoping that it happens one more time.
"The plane ticket that we just won is not the reason we came to Chico State," said Barker. "We came to Chico State to get a ring."