The PLNU baseball team matched a 17 game winning streak before losing to Fresno Pacific University, 2-7 on April 17. Currently they are sitting at 17-7 in the PacWest conference and are 31-10 overall.
Sophomore first baseman Ryan Garcia, who recently hit two walk-offs, said he is excited for the team to advance to the playoffs.
“It says a lot about our program and team to be able to get national attention and to be ranked,” Garcia said. “I just hope we can keep the streak alive and get to the tournament.”
Coach Ben Rosenthal said he is maintaining cautious optimism despite the national ranking.
“It is great to get ranked, etc. but at the end of the day it is a midseason poll that doesn’t hold much weight unless we continue to build on it and achieve our team goals for the season,” said Rosenthal via email. “So, for me, right now, it is just another number that we shouldn’t get caught up on.”
The success the team is experiencing this year holds more weight in comparison to last season. They were just below .500, and did not make it to the post season. This year their win rate is at .708 in conference play. They have won more games this season with three weeks remaining compared to last season combined. Garcia said the team works harder and works together more this season than in the past.
“We have trust in one another, and at any point in the game we can come back,” said Garcia. “No matter what the score is and no matter who is at bat, we have a winning mentality and that separates us from last years team.
AJ Derr, the junior utility player, is currently hitting in the second spot.. Derr is one of the most consistent batters for the team. He leads with a 0.442 on base percentage, and is hitting .350.
“I feel like my role is just to get on base as much as possible however it may be,” Derr said. “I am not a big power guy so I just like to give the guys [who bat behind me] a chance to produce, which they have this year. I love hitting in the two hole. I feel so comfortable hitting early and in front of our power hitters. My role is to get on base… and I am expected to just have quality Abs [at bats] whether I succeed or fail.”
After dropping the first three games of the series against Fresno Pacific last weekend, they ended with a 5-4 win. The Sea Lions will play on Thursday at noon to contend in their next series against Cal Baptist.