June 6, 2011
FORT WORTH—Third-seeded Dallas Baptist punched its ticket to a Super Regional for the first time in program history Monday with a wild 11-9 victory over No. 4 seed Oral Roberts in the decisive Game 7 of the NCAA Fort Worth Regional at TCU’s Lupton Stadium.
DBU (42-18) advances to play the winner of Monday night’s matchup between Baylor and Cal for the right to advance to the College World Series. The Super Regionals will take place Friday, June 10 through Monday, June 13. ORU, which narrowly missed out on the second Super Regional appearance in its program history, concluded the season with a 39-22 record.
The Patriots jumped on top of Oral Roberts early to take a seemingly insurmountable lead Monday, but the Golden Eagles refused to quit on their season. After DBU held advantages of 8-0 following the top of the first inning and 11-4 after the top of the third, ORU’s pitching staff settled down and its hitters came alive. The squad scored two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings and one more in the seventh to climb back within two runs, 11-9.
It looked as if the Golden Eagles may complete the comeback, placing runners on second and third with only one out in the bottom of the eighth, but DBU closer Chris Haney entered the game and shut the door. Haney struck out both left fielder Chris Elder and designated hitter Brandon King, who had combined for seven RBI and two home runs entering the inning, to quiet the rally. Haney then retired ORU in order in the ninth to earn the save and send the Patriots to their first-ever Regional title.
Stuart Pudenz (4-1) earned the victory for DBU in relief of starter Jordan Staples, who was unable to record an out after giving up a first-inning grand slam to King. Golden Eagle starter Alex Gonzalez (8-7) took the loss after allowing eight runs, five earned, in only 1/3 of an inning.
Center fielder Landon Anderson and first baseman Ryan Behmanesh led the Dallas Baptist offensive attack with three hits each. Behmanesh recorded two doubles, while the two players combined for five RBI. The pair led a solid middle of the order for the Patriots that combined to go 9-for-19 from the 2-5 spots.
Oral Roberts saw just as much success at the plate, totaling 14 hits. King and Elder finished with four and three RBIs respectively, while the first six hitters in the Golden Eagle lineup combined to go 12-for-25 on the night. Right fielder Nick Baligod finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish.
Dallas Baptist jumped on top of Oral Roberts from the outset, sending 12 batters to the plate in the opening inning. The Patriots knocked around Gonzales to the tune of four hits and eight runs. Only five of the runs were earned, as the Golden Eagle defense proved to be shaky behind the freshman with three errors in the opening frame.
Behmanesh and designated hitter Josh Wilson both drove in runs with singles, the second of which chased Gonzalez from the game. Anderson later added two RBIs on a single to right off ORU reliever Dan Martony that concluded the Patriots’ eight-run first.
DBU’s big first inning did not deter Oral Roberts, which responded by placing a crooked number of their own on the scoreboard in their half of the first. King launched a 3-1 pitch from Staples over the right field fence for the squad’s second grand slam of the regional to cut the lead in half after center fielder Joey Winiecki, Baligod and Elder each reached base to open the inning.
DBU added three insurance runs in the third that proved to be the difference in the game. Anderson and right fielder Jason Krizan both drove in runs, Anderson on a single to right and Krizan on a sac fly. Behmanesh later plated Anderson on a double down the right field line to push the Patriots back out to a seven-run cushion.
ORU put on a power display while slowly chipping away at the Patriot lead in the middle innings. Elder hit his second home run of the regional to right field for a two-run shot in the fifth, while the squad tallied two more in the sixth on an RBI double by Baligod and another run-scoring hit by Elder. A sac fly by third baseman T.J. Bennett in the seventh cut the DBU lead to 11-9, but the Golden Eagles were unable to get any closer.
NCAA FORT WORTH REGIONAL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
C: Bennett Pickar, Oral Roberts
1B: Jared Schlehuber, Oral Roberts
2B: Jerome Pena, TCU
3B: Jantzen Witte, TCU
SS: Joel Hutter, Dallas Baptist
OF: Landon Anderson, Dallas Baptist
OF: Chris Elder, Oral Roberts
OF: Jason Krizan, Dallas Baptist
SP: Brandon Williamson, Dallas Baptist
SP: Mark Guest, Oral Roberts
RP: Chris Haney, Dallas Baptist
DH: Brandon King, Oral Roberts
MVP: Landon Anderson, Dallas Baptist