June 4, 2011

click here for box score

Regional Scores & Schedules

Dallas Baptist Trumps TCU

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


One of the last teams selected to the NCAA Tournament is one win away from reaching the Super Regionals.


Jared Stafford worked 8.1 brilliant innings, and Chris Haney stranded the tying run at third base by striking out Josh Elander as Dallas Baptist edged TCU 3-2 Saturday night. The Patriots (41-17) await the winner of the Horned Frogs (43-18) and Oral Roberts, with the winner of that game needing to beat DBU twice to emerge from the Fort Worth Regional.


“I don’t think we have a chip,” Patriots coach Dan Heefner said early Sunday morning via phone. “We knew we were one of the last teams to get in, but we were just fired up to get the opportunity.”


Dallas Baptist reached the NCAA tourney in 2008 and appeared to be in position again in 2009. When the pairings for the tourney were announced that year, the Patriots were left out.


“That definitely leaves a little doubt,” Heefner said.


The Patriots were in a similar situation this year – solid RPI, solid schedule and solid showing against the top 50 in the country (including a 2-0 mark against TCU in the regular season). But by being an independent, DBU can’t take advantage of conference standings or gaining a bid by winning a conference tournament.


“Going in, we felt good about it, but we didn’t feel like it was a slam dunk,” Heefner said.


Since it arrived in Fort Worth, Dallas Baptist has won a pair of one-run games against Oklahoma and TCU, both of which played in the College World Series last year. Heefner said it helps to be familiar with the teams in the Regional, particularly the Horned Frogs.


“Knowing that they are a great program – they are one of the marquee programs in the country – if we play our game, we can play with them,” he said.


Saturday night, the Patriots scored two early runs off Horned Frogs lefty Matt Purke. Ryan Behmanesh scored from second on a wild pitch when Elander couldn’t locate the ball in the first inning. And in the third, Jason Krizan had a RBI double (his 39th double) for a 2-0 lead.


The Horned Frogs drew even with two in the fifth on a Taylor Featherston RBI double and Brett Johnson’s RBI grounder.


But that was all TCU could muster off Stafford (8-4), who allowed three hits and two walks and struck out two. Stafford’s start came a night after Brandon Williamson shut down Oklahoma.


“They’ve been great all year, but they’ve had their best starts of the year in the Regional,” Heefner said.


Landon Anderson stole the spotlight for a couple of innings. He singled in Joel Hutter (2 for 3), who had doubled to give the Patriots a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth. The centerfielder then made five putouts in the seventh and eighth inning, culminating with a diving and tumbling catch in right-center field to rob extra bases and end the eighth inning.


Dallas Baptist will try to capture the Regional on Sunday, which is noteworthy because the school normally does not compete in athletics on Sundays. Heefner could remember only one time in his seven seasons that the Patriots played on Sunday, and even then, he wasn’t sure.


The key to advancing is pretty simple.


“It’s just kind of what’s got us here,” Heefner said. “Just playing the game the right way.”