Patriots Down ORU to advance to Regional Finals

Filed under: Sports |

Gilbreath Wins In Relief, Patriots on to Championship Round

photo provided by

Box Score

It came down to a battle of the bullpens on Saturday night in Waco and Dallas Baptist (41-17) found a stop-gap in the fifth inning as Aaron Gilbreath (4-3) came in to preserve an 11-8 win, with some help from Stuart Pudenz, over Oral Roberts (38-24) and vault the Patriots to their second-straight championship round of an NCAA Regional. Whichever team wins the Oral Roberts and Baylor matchup on Sunday afternoon will have to beat the Patriots twice to advance to the Super Regional round of the tournament.

The two teams combined for 27 hits – Oral Roberts actually outhit the Patriots by one- but it was the Patriots who made the most of their opportunities. DBU stranded seven runners on the night and the Golden Eagles left nine.

For the second straight game, the Patriots scored first. Ryan Behmanesh started the second inning with a two-strike single to right and moved to second on a Landon Anderson single through the right side.  Jaime Garrido then worked a walk before Duncan McAlpine singled to right center to score two runs. Kenny Hatcher followed with a looping single to left to plate Garrido and put runners on first and second. Neither of those runners would score, however, after a fly ball, a bunt out and a pickoff.

The third inning would be more of the same for the DBU offense. Joel Hutter walked and, with two outs, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by first baseman Jared Schlehuber. He would score on Anderson’s second hit of the day and Anderson would come home on a Garrido sharp single to right center. Garrido would be the final batter ORU starter Mike Torrence would face on the day as Rob Walton went to Alec Smith out of the bullpen. Smith’s first batter of the night was McAlpine and he took a breaking ball off his shoe tops and hammered it down the line in right for his second homerun in as many days and fourth RBI of the game.

Oral Roberts would not sit idly by, however. Down seven runs to begin their half of the third inning, the Golden Eagles picked up back-to-back singles off Sneed before he hit a batter and gave up an RBI single to Brandon Healy. Healy would be Sneed’s final batter of the game as he gave way to Michael Smith after not recording an out in the third. Smith helped limit the damage in the inning after inducing two groundouts but ORU had cut the lead to 7-3.

Dallas Baptist would get two of those runs back in the fourth. Ronnie Mitchell doubled to left center ahead of a Boomer Collins‘ blast to left-center and, like that, DBU had recouped a six run lead. The added a seventh run to that cushion in the fifth inning after Anderson singled in the infield, stole second, and scored on another McAlpine RBI.

A rare DBU error helped ORU score three runs in the bottom half of the fifth. Three straight singles opened the frame before Smith got what looked like might be a double play ball to Hutter at shortstop. But, the ball short-hopped the senior and kicked off his glove to shallow center and then Brandon King looped a ball into left field to score another run. The fifth single of the inning brought home another run and the night would be over for Smith. After 2.1 innings, he handed the ball to Aaron Gilbreath with the bases loaded and one out.

Gilbreath did exactly what he was brought into the game to do – get a groundball. That groundball was right at Hutter and he atoned for his earlier error by beginning a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning with no further damage.

Gilbreath and ORU pitcher Kurt Giller settled things down in the sixth and seventh innings as neither team scored in either frame, the first scoreless innings in the game since the first. That streak would stop, though, with a Behmanesh at-bat with two outs in the eighth. He took a 2-2 fastball on the inner-half of the plate from Giller and just snuck it next to the left field foul pole to help get the momentum back into the Patriot dugout.

Gilbreath only hiccup came as he tried to close out the game. The first two batters of the ninth reached via a single and a walk and the lefthander gave way to Stuart Pudenz. Gilbreath allowed only two hits in his 4.1 innings of work and did not allow a run. He struck out three and walked one. Pudenz came on with men on first and second and struck out Jared Schlehuber, the Golden Eagles’ top hitter, on three pitches.  A walk to Cam Schiller loaded the bases but the big righthander struck out King for the second out before sealing the win with another punchout. Jay Calhoun is set to go for DBU on the mound for the 7:00 pm matchup against the winner of the Baylor/Oral Roberts matchup at 2:00 pm.

Coach Heefner Postgame Interview
DBU Postgame Quotes
Video Highlights