DBU Falls in Regional Final to Texas Tech, 5-3

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THE LEAD
DBU’s 2016 season came to a close on Monday in a 5-3 loss to Texas Tech in the Lubbock Regional Final on Monday at Rip Griffin Park.  A two-run double off the bat of the Red Raiders’ Orlando Garcia broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning and proved to be the difference, as DBU was unable to mount a late inning comeback and the Patriots finished their season for the second consecutive year in the regional finals.

DSC_3336The Patriots threatened in both of the first two innings with baserunners, but saw each of them erased with a groundball double play off Tech starter Ryan Moseley.  On the other side, the Red Raiders took advantage of a leadoff double by Stephen Smith in the bottom of the first, as he came around to score the game’s first run after a flyball moved him to third and then a ground ball out to the right side of the diamond off the bat of Tanner Gardner plated Smith.

With neither team scoring in the second, it was the Patriots who lit up the scoreboard next as they turned Daniel Sweet‘s leadoff triple in the third into a run.  Camden Duzenack picked up the RBI with a long line drive into the outstretched glove of Tech centerfielder Tanner Gardner that scored Sweet easily.

The score would not stay tied, long, however, as Texas Tech got the first two batters of the third on base to end the day for Coby Weaver.  Landon Wilson came on in relief and got in a position to keep the Raiders from scoring, but a two-out balk on a pickoff attempt with the bases loaded gave the Red Raiders the lead once again.

The score stayed at 3-1 until the sixth inning when DBU got some middle-inning heroics from Austin Listi.  With one out,Justin Wall walked ahead of Listi, who then ran his count to a hitter-friendly 3-1 with Darick Hall looming on deck. Listi, looking specifically for a fastball, got it and did not miss it.  The outfielder blasted his 10th homerun of the season over the left-centerfield wall to tie the game at three apiece.

The tie did not last long, however, as Wilson allowed a leadoff walk and a soft single to open the bottom of the sixth.  Those two batters ended his day as Dalton Higgins trotted in from the bullpen to strike out the first batter he faced for the first out of the inning.  Higgins could not, however, get Red Raider shortstop Orlando Garcia as he laced a two-RBI double to left center to reclaim a two-run lead for Texas Tech.  Higgins then got a strikeout and a fly ball to end the inning and strand Garcia at second.

Trailing 5-3 heading into the latter third of the game, Tech closer Hayden Howard took the game over.  With the Patriots threating in the seventh with runners and first and second and two out, Howard picked-off Tim Millard at first base to get out of the jam.  In the eighth, Howard hit the lead-off batter Jameson Hannah, but that would be the last base runner of the day for the Patriots, as the Texas Tech lefty retired the next five batters and eventually induced a groundball out off the bat of Daniel Sweet to close out the game.

DBU HEAD COACH DAN HEEFNER ON THE 2016 SEASON AND THE SENIOR CLASS
“I’m really proud of what this group accomplished this year.  I think a lot of people thought this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for us and for this team to win 44 games, win a conference regular-season and tournament title and advance to a regional final is a huge accomplishment.  This a special group of guys and this senior class has been a big part of the success this program has experienced.  I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
– DBU has advanced to the regional final in four out of the last six years.
– The Patriots fell two wins shy of matching a school record for wins in a single-season.
– The senior class of Trooper Reynolds, Sean Stutzman, Daniel Sweet, and Justin Wall accounted for 161 wins and three trips to the NCAA Tournament over the last four years.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS
29Austin Listi hit his 29th career home run with a two-run blast in the sixth inning.
219 –  Justin Wall finished his four-year career with 219 hits in 218 games.
5 – DBU hit five home runs during the Lubbock Regional.

LUBBOCK REGIONAL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
C – Matt Duce (DBU)
1B – Darick Hall (DBU)
2B – Trooper Reynolds (DBU)
SS – Orlando Garcia (Texas Tech)
3B – Hunter Hargrove (Texas Tech)
OF – Luis Gonzalez (New Mexico)
OF – Stephen Smith (Texas Tech)
OF – Jameson Hannah (DBU)
DH – Cory Raley (Texas Tech)
P – Davis Martin (Texas Tech)
P – Tyler Stevens (New Mexico)
Most Outstanding Player – Hayden Howard (Texas Tech)