The Rams are going to regionals.
Colorado State’s club baseball team clinched its postseason berth with two wins at Wyoming over the weekend coupled with a Colorado-Boulder win over Northern Colorado. The team has four games left in the regular season, but has already secured the best record in the NCBA Mid-America West.
The upcoming series with UNC will be a factor in determining seeding, but the Rams are relieved to know they are already in.
“It’s awesome,” senior catcher Brett Bogner said. “We waited until the last possible minute, both last year and the year before that, and we got the at-large bid. It’s kind of a nerve-racking experience just waiting for that call. To be undefeated so far and having it locked up early, it’s just a big weight off our shoulders.”
At 14-0 in conference play, the Rams can secure the No.1 seed in their region by winning out.
“I keep telling players not to get complacent,” head coach Brian Dilley said. “Yes, we have conference locked up, we know we’re going to regionals, but right now we’re fighting for that No.1 seed.”
Regionals consist of four-team fields and are double-elimination format. The fields are comprised of the winners of the three Mid-America Regions, and one wild card, which the NCBA chooses from division runner-ups. Seeding of the division winners is based on conference winning percentage.
CSU entered Regionals last year as the at-large team, but upset top-seed Missouri 12-1 in the first round, and then beat Iowa twice to advance to the NCBA World Series, where they were eliminated by losses to Utah State and Florida.
Regardless of seeding, CSU expects to be a force to be reckoned with every year in Regionals.
“We preach from day one, we expect to go win every game,” Dilley said. “We make it known this program has been built around the fact that we do not lose to club teams. So us losing to Arizona State was a huge blow to us, and I think that sparked something in the team to come back and say ‘that’s it, we’re done, we’re not losing to a club team again’.”
The expectations they put upon themselves are not unwarranted. CSU has won the NCBA World Series six of the last 10 years.
CSU’s last championship came in 2010. Bogner is hoping his senior campaign also happens to be the year CSU returns to dominance.
“I feel like this is probably the best team that I’ve been on since I’ve been here,” Bogner said. “We always have a target on our backs. Everybody in club baseball knows that we are one of the top programs and everybody wants to beat us. So we go in with a target on our backs, and sometimes we like that.”
The Rams opponents have not been set, as the Mid-America North and Mid-America South have yet to be decided. If the season ended today, the No.2 seed would be Iowa and the No.3 seed would be Southern Illinois, with Iowa State likely claiming the at-large bid.
Collegian Sports Reporter Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @emccarthy22.