Category archive: Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Dallas Baptist didn't look like it would need many heroics after its first inning at the plate on Monday night.

It did, and it got them.

Chris Haney got his third save of the Fort Worth Regional and helped the Patriots hold off Oral Roberts, 11-9, after leading 8-0 after the top of the first inning.

Haney struck out Oral Roberts' two best and hottest hitters, Chris Elder and Brandon King, in the bottom of the eighth inning with runners on second and third.

He added another strikeout in the bottom of the ninth, and an acrobatic grab in foul territory by shortstop Joel Hutter gave Haney his 15th save of the season and sent the program to its first super regional appearance ever.

"I don't know that it's sunk in a whole lot right now," said Patriots manager Dan Heefner, whose program was in its second-ever regional and began Division I play in 2006. "I couldn't be more proud of those seniors and what thye've done to our program. It's always been a great program at DBU, but this is obviously a whole new level."

Haney's big-impact eighth inning prompted his teammates to meet him with slaps on the back well before he reached the dugout as the 2,856 in attendance, heavily favoring nearby Dallas Baptist, roared their approval louder than they had all night.

"Our fans were unbelievable how much they supported us in this regional," Heefner said. "I felt like we had a big home field advantage there."

Haney let out a few screams of his own on the way to the dugout after digging his team out of a season-saving jam.

"I get really excited. I'm a very emotional guy, I wear my emotion on my sleeve. It's an overflow of joy," Haney said. "Once the situation is over, I'm very likely to erupt."

Said ORU manager Rob Walton: "Haney is a special guy. He's going to be as good as any closer in the country."

A night after Oral Roberts' season was extended by a pitcher's career long outing, another's shortest career outing put the year in major jeopardy.

The Golden Eagles couldn't make up the deficit after Alex Gonzalez gave up five runs on eight hits and took 39 pitches to record just one out. He was replaced by Dan Martony who gave up three more runs and the Golden Eagles trailed 8-0 before even taking the plate.

"I needed to collect some guys in there and make sure we're not getting too emotional, because you start thinking about what's on the line then you get away from your execution. Basically, I told them, 'Let's not scoreboard watch,'" Walton said. "Let's focus on what we've got to do to have a good at-bat. ... You don't scoreboard watch, you're going to make a run. And sure enough they did."

Dallas Baptist added three runs in the third inning, and the 11 runs in just two innings were enough to hold off the Golden Eagles' charge.

Sunday night, facing elimination, Mark Guest pitched his first career complete game, allowing just two runs after pitching just 16 innings all season following a torn pectoral muscle.

There were no such heroics on Monday night, but the two teams combined for 12 runs in the opening inning, which lasted 46 minutes.

The Golden Eagles answered with a grand slam from King in the bottom of the inning, but they couldn't keep the early-game Patriots barrage from ending their season.

"We'd have no opportunity to be sitting here without that kid," Walton said of Gonazlez, his freshman ace who entered the game with a 2.99 ERA.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Two Cinderellas showed up in the championship round of the Fort Worth Regional, but after Oral Roberts beat Dallas Baptist 7-2 on Sunday night, each program's dream stayed alive for at least one more night.

Monday night, the two will play a winner-take-all rematch for a trip to the super regionals.

Between the two, Oral Roberts' trip to Clemson in 2006 is the only super regional appearance in either's history. The Golden Eagles defeated Oklahoma and host TCU, both participants in the 2010 College World Series, to reach Dallas Baptist, which waited in the winner's bracket after winning consecutive games against Oklahoma and TCU in its second NCAA regional in program history.

Oral Roberts' run on Sunday setup a final between the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds, and a crowd of 2,920 that heavily favored nearby Dallas Baptist will have to make the jaunt west to Fort Worth one more night.

"Our fans have been great, and I thought that in all three games. In the first game against Oklahoma, I thought we had more fans here than they did," Dallas Baptist manager Dan Heefner said.

With TCU eliminated, the partisanship of the crowd has tilted even further in the Patriots favor.

"I think that's kind of an advantage we have right now, being so close to home," Heefner said. "We've got our fans here, so we need to take advantage [on Monday night]."

The Golden Eagles bullpen got a much-needed boost at the end of long day ("I think we all lost some weight today for sure," said ORU manager Dan Walton of the doubleheader in the heat) by Mark Guest, who allowed just five hits and two runs in his first career complete game.

"We get scouting reports and we call around," Heefner said, "but we didn't have a ton on him, because he hadn't thrown a ton on the year."

The two teams hadn't met in two years, and Guest, who missed time earlier this year with a torn pectoral muscle, had pitched just 16 innings this season entering his start on Sunday night. Using a three-pitch repertoire of fastball, changeup and slider, he kept the Patriots batters baffled.

"Last year, he actually led our team in ERA," Walton said of Guest, whose performance he called "special." "He struggled through that injury, but him coming back was a big key to the depth of our pitchers, and I said yesterday, he's more than capable of throwing well. ... It's not like he's an unknown commodity."

Guest's performance came with an early cushion, a 4-0 lead after two innings on the mound, highlighted by a two-run home run to right field by designated hitter Brandon King in the top of the third inning. First baseman Jared Schlehuber homered in the top of the eighth to offer even more leeway and help the Golden Eagles win without trailing.

Guest, a native of nearby Plano, Texas, notched a win against Texas in Austin last season, and set up the high-stakes rematch on Monday night against Dallas Baptist.

"I don't think I'll be welcomed back in the state," he said.

Sunday's nightcap also featured a 29-minute lightning delay in the top of the fifth inning, but Guest said the time allowed him to re-focus, and he was at his best late in the game with Dallas Baptist threatening to punch a ticket to the super regionals on Sunday night.

"Obviously, he had his 'A game.'" Walton said.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU's badge for reaching the 2010 College World Series sits conspicuously a few feet from the foul pole in left field.

A tweak of a tricep and a swing of a bat kept the Frogs from adding a second in 2011.

Kyle Winkler, one of two aces on the TCU staff, didn't make it out of the first inning Sunday after further injuring an existing stress reaction in his tricep and Oral Roberts' Chris Elder hit a sixth-inning grand slam off Teddy Nowell to help the Golden Eagles eliminate the Horned Frogs from the Fort Worth Regional of the NCAA tournament with an 8-4 win.

"He's special. He has really good stuff," ORU manager Rob Walton said of Winkler. "He's a go-to guy and he could have shut us down if he was going good. From an emotional standpoint, that might have deflated them a little bit. It was unfortunate, and then we took advantage."

Oral Roberts, having eliminated Oklahoma on Saturday, knocked out its second 2010 College World Series participant in as many games.

Once Winkler left, his next three replacements each gave up at least one run, none more costly than the grand slam off Nowell that turned a tight 4-3 game into a decisive 8-3 Golden Eagles lead.

Elder was the first batter the lefty faced on the night, and the ORU slugger, who led the team with 10 home runs entering the game, hit .358 against left-handed pitchers versus just more than .300 against right-handers.

"I wish Coach Walton would have told me that," said TCU manager Jim Schlossnagle, who added that the slam "took the wind out of our sails."

Winkler, who missed two of his previous three starts and didn't play in the Mountain West Conference tournament, wasn't expected to be at 100 percent, but in his perfect world, the game would have ended in the bottom of the ninth with him mowing down three more ORU batters.

Instead, after the top of the ninth, Winkler stood outside the dugout, wearing a sling and a towel draped across his neck to soften the sling's strap. He waited before being joined by his teammates, who took to the infield and congratulated ORU for the win on the Horned Frogs' home field.

As the Golden Eagles sought air conditioning on the near triple-digit temperature day before the nightcap against Dallas Baptist, Winkler and his teammates sang the alma mater for the fans at home plate for the last time until next spring.

"It's interesting. You go 43-19 and set a school record for attendance, host a regional and ranked in the top 12 for most of the year, and everybody's really disappointed," Schlossnagle said. "That's fine, and we've always wanted to create a high expectation here, and if you fall short of Omaha, everybody is upset about it, but 43-19 is pretty good, and there's a lot of clubs that might want to be where we are, but that's not what we want to think about at this time."