Over the past six seasons the CSU men’s club baseball team has been the program to beat in the National Club Baseball Association with five NCBA World Series Championships in six years, including 2009.
The Rams began their 2009 season with a 4-5 loss to Otero Junior College in LaJunta, Colo., on Feb. 7.
“Last year, losing the first game hurt more than this year’s loss. This year I was very confident we could come back up in the winner’s bracket. We just focused game to game and took care of business,” head coach Mike Abernathy said.
The season-opening loss did not slow the Rams down as they concluded the 2009 spring season holding the NBCA World Series trophy for the fifth time in school history.
The Rams began NCBA World Series play on May 22 with a 10-6 loss to Maryland. CSU would then knock off Weber State 2-1, defeat Clemson 7-3, sweep Maryland 25-7 and 4-3 in two games, and win the World Series over Arizona 3-1 on May 28.
The championship season was coach Abernathy’s third title since taking over the head coaching position in 2006 from Frank Gonzales, who led the Rams to two consecutive World Series victories in 2004 and 2005.
“There are three things that go into our success. First the talent in Colorado is exceptional and it is a good place to play. The coaching I think is superb. We have four coaches and three of them are ex-players that have gone through the system and know how we do things,” Abernathy said. “Most importantly the kids want to play. They pay to play so they want to be there and be better.”
Brian Dilley was awarded the 2009 World Series’ Most Valuable Player for the Rams. The senior outfielder concluded the series with a .440 batting average along with two home runs and 12 RBIs.
Dilley also helped his team out during the regular season with a batting average of .438, 12 home runs and 46 RBIs in 112 at bats.
Another factor for the Rams this season and for the past four years has been senior Eric Zaruba at first base. This season Zaruba drove home 20 runs while hitting .306 at the plate.
“Three out of four for me,” said Zaruba when talking about the World Series championships he had been a part of. “You always want to end your career on a good note and I definitely ended on a good note . the season went well and we did not give it away at the end.”
The 2009 CSU baseball season was one of the best seasons in program history with an overall record of 48-7. Four games this year were not played due to weather.
The Rams also managed to go undefeated in the Mid-America West Conference by sweeping rival CU-Boulder twice, University of Northern Colorado twice, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in three games.
From April 10 until May 10, the Rams went undefeated with 21 consecutive wins before losing to Maryland in the first round of the World Series.
Next season coach Abernathy and his players will look to continue the dynasty they have created in the NCBA with another World Series title.
The new season will begin at the start of February 2010.
Staff writer Justin Warren can be reached at email@example.com.