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Monday, June 6, 2011
Fort Worth Regional: DBU 11, ORU 9

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.