FORT WORTH (AP) – Dallas Baptist University’s baseball program made a giant leap Monday as the Patriots batted around during an eight-run first inning and went on to hold off Oral Roberts 11-9 to win the NCAA Fort Worth Regional.
With the victory, DBU (42-18), in its sixth season as an NCAA Division I independent, advanced to its first super regional. And the team could end up hosting after Baylor’s loss to Cal.
“I don’t know that it’s really sunk in,” said coach Dan Heefner. “Our focus is always on the next game and the next pitch. It’s always been a great program at DBU, but this is a whole new level.”
Ryan Behmanesh had three hits, including two doubles, and two RBIs for Dallas Baptist, which sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning. Jason Krizan, Behmanesh, Kenny Hatcher, Austin Elkins, Josh Wilson, Tyler Robbins and Landon Anderson all had run-scoring hits.
Oral Roberts put the tying run on second in the eighth with the heart of its order coming up, but closer Chris Haney struck out Chris Elder and Brandon King to end it.
King had a grand slam and Edler drove in three runs for the Golden Eagles (39-22).
“If we could get the right guy on the mound (I thought we’d have a chance),” said Oral Roberts coach Rob Walton, who finally did when his third pitcher, Joe Spring, pitched five scoreless innings to keep his team in the game. “I knew we could score eight or 10 runs.”
Stuart Pudenz, who relieved starter Jordan Staples with no outs in the first, was the pitcher of record for Dallas Baptist.
The Patriots earned a trip to the championship round by defeating No. 2-seed Oklahoma on Friday and top-seed TCU on Saturday.
Oral Roberts and standout freshman starting pitcher Alex Gonzalez took a beating in losing its first game of the tournament, 10-2 to TCU. The Golden Eagles beat Oklahoma, TCU and Dallas Baptist in the first game of the championship round by a combined score of 22-6.
Walton sent Gonzalez ) who led Oral Roberts in victories — back out Monday in the Golden Eagles’ biggest game. However, the freshman, lasted only 1/3 of an inning in giving up eight runs.
“He’s been our guy the whole year,” said Elder, a senior who was 2-for-3 with three RBIs for Oral Roberts. “He got us here. It’s one of those things that happens in sports.”
Dallas Baptist’s 33rd consecutive winning season has turned into the school’s best in history.
“Our responsibility is to play the game not the opponent,” said outfielder Landon Anderson. “When we look across to the other dugout, it’s them playing baseball and us playing baseball too. It’s not us versus them, it’s about us playing the game.”
Said Heefner: “There’s so many good teams in college baseball, if you get hot at the right time, good things can happen.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)