By David Carter/GCU Club Sports Web Marketing Intern
Six straight, and eight wins in the last nine games.
The GCU Club Baseball Division 2 team has plenty to cheer about as they head to the National Club Baseball Association (NCBA) Pacific Regional Playoffs in Lancaster, California beginning this Friday, May 3.
The Pacific Regional is one of eight double-elimination regional tournaments across the nation that will determine which eight teams make it to the NCBA D2 World Series. With no at-large bids involved in the World Series, GCU (12-7 overall, 12-6 Pacific Region South) has to win the three-day regional tourney to get in.
The Lopes received an automatic berth to regionals when they clinched the Pacific Region South Conference title after sweeping California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM). The 3rd-seeded Lopes join 2nd-seeded Pacific Central Conference Champion California Miramar University-Montebello (CMU); the top seed, Pacific North Champion Stanford University, and No. 4 Arizona State University (ASU), who received an at-large bid into regionals.
Although the Lopes are in a good position right now, Lopes’ Head Coach Fred Speck knows there was some luck involved along the way to get this far.
“After our first six games, we were 4-2,” mentioned Speck. “We laid it out that if we won two of three in every remaining series, it would help us for postseason. We did not anticipate being in the position we were in after the ASU series, but we got a little bit lucky and had a little bit of help.”
Each year that the Lopes reaches regionals, their recognition of the intensified play improves.
“This will be the third time going as a D2 team,” highlighted Speck. “Offensively, it might be a difficult challenge. Typically in regionals, you will see teams with faster pitching. However, each year is new and you prepare your team the best you can.”
The Lopes may also face off against their conference rivals from ASU, who they beat four times in six conference matchups – including a recent three-game home sweep.
“That ASU series was key (three-game sweep) knowing that we could beat them,” said Lopes’ catcher Kacey Carvajal. “That was a big turning point for our confidence, and we took that momentum with us to San Marcos. Now we want to take that momentum into regionals.”
The Lopes begin play on Friday, May 3 at 3:00 pm against CMU. They will play again on Saturday, May 4th at 9:00 am against either Stanford or ASU. All games will be played at Rawley Duntley Park in Lancaster.
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