College baseball PLNU
Point Loma Nazarene’s Cole Hillier. Photo credit, Screen shot, @PLNUSeaLions via Twitter

Point Loma Nazarene’s Sea Lions (46-7) mashed their way to a sweep of the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks (36-20) at home Friday to advance to the NCAA Super Regional.

With the Friday wins – including a 21-5 shellacking in the late game – PLNU now waits to learn the winner of Saturday’s Cal State Monterey Bay and Azusa Pacific contest.

That’s who who they will face in the Super Regional, beginning Friday.

The only thing the Sea Lions lost all weekend was a coin flip, which left them designated as the visiting team for the first game despite hosting one of the two west Division II NCAA Regionals on their own field. By taking both games Friday, PLNU won the best-of-three series, avoiding a do-or-die Saturday game.

Point Loma Head Coach Justin James called advancing “a great feeling.”

“They deserve this. They’ve worked so hard and bought into so many different things,” he said. “They’ve just done a great job.”

Third baseman Otto Kemp and designated hitter Hunter Otjen, a Point Loma High alum, had big days for PLNU; Kemp had five hits between the two games, scored seven runs and drove in five, while Otjen collected five hits, scored three and drove in five.

Dylan Miller won the first game, as Cole Hillier secured the final six outs for his 14th save, to set a new PLNU and PacWest mark for single-season saves.

Starter Jack Gonzales benefitted from the Sea Lions’ second-game outburst – which included seven home runs – as Kemp delivered his second leadoff homer of the day. 

But that wasn’t all as shortstop Scott Anderson made it back to back with a blast of his own and centerfielder Jack Malone added a three-run homer to cap a five-run first.

The blowout was on by the second as the Sea Lions scored three more, including a two-run homer by Otjen drove a ball over the wall in the right field.

They topped their first-inning tally with two six-run innings in the third – to make it 14-2 – and the eighth innings.

Gonzales went six innings, with eight strikeouts, despite giving up four homers as he notched his eighth win of the season.

“It comes down to just winning one pitch at a time,” Gonzales said. “Just taking care of business, and knowing as the pitcher on the mound, that you have to have your boys’ back.”

PLNU continued to improve on its best-season record, now up to 46 wins. The nine-homer day also gives the Sea Lions 73 on the season, one shy of the 2009 program record.