Lopes eliminate Sonoma State; advance to West Regional Championship game

The Lopes baseball team advanced to the NCAA Division II West Regional Championship game after beating second-ranked Sonoma State for the second time in the postseason, this time by an 8-7 count.

Grand Canyon improved its record to 37-17, while the Seawolves ended their season at 36-22.

The Lopes will take on sixth-seeded Chico State – whom they lost to earlier in the day – in the first of the West Regional Championship games beginning on Sunday at 11 a.m. Arizona time.

Chico State needs just one win to advance to the Division II College World Series, while Grand Canyon needs to win twice on Sunday if they expect to head to Cary, N.C. for the World Series, which begins on May 25.

Malcolm Purdy – who had a 2-0 record in 15 relief appearances – came up big for Grand Canyon. Purdy made his first start of the season, and pitched five strong innings, giving up two runs on six hits, a walk and two strikeouts.

Brandon Bonilla got the win, his second of the season.

Brandon Smith swung a hot bat for the Lopes, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

As always, the Lopes do it as a team. Paul Panaccione, Derek Mendoza and Charles Wagner each had two hits. Panaccione had a team-high three RBI to go along with his two hits.