Dallas Baptist didn’t flinch after an opening-round, upset loss to No. 7 seed Indiana State on Wednesday in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The Patriots, instead, took stock of where they stood and went back to work for a 3-0 win over Evansville on Thursday morning at Eck Stadium. The Aces were eliminated with the loss, and No. 2 seed Dallas Baptist will play Thursday’s Bradley-Indiana State loser at 9 a.m. Friday.
“The big things for me were seeing if their energy level was good, if their confidence was good,” Dallas Baptist coach Dan Heefner said. “I thought those things were fine yesterday, we just ran into a really good pitcher. I told them we were fine, just play our brand of baseball, come back with a victory and go deep into this tournament.”
Dallas Baptist (42-12) scored first when Drew Turbin scored on a throwing error by Evansville shortstop Stewart Nelson with two outs, giving the Patriots a 1-0 lead.
Evansville (29-24) missed out on big chances in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, the Aces put runners on first and second with no outs, but Stewart Nelson popped out on a bunt attempt, and Travis Tokarek grounded into a double play to end the inning when he didn’t attempt to run to first base after making contact.
In the sixth, when Evansville had runners at first and third with no outs, Jarod Perry was thrown out at the plate on a close call after Jonathan Ramon struck out and the Aces attempted a double steal.
“We wanted to press our luck and send (Perry) because we knew we were facing a strikeout pitcher and the pitch could be in the dirt,” Evansville coach Wes Carroll said. “That’s a pivotal play that didn’t go our way, but we didn’t earn it today. We didn’t play near well enough against a very good team.”
The Patriots added two runs in the seventh on an RBI triple by David Martinelli and a sacrifice fly by Turbin that scored Marinelli for a 3-0 lead.
“We didn’t really feel any added pressure playing in an elimination game,” Martinelli said. “We struggled a little early (against Evansville), but we got some baserunners on and I got a big hit, so I’m glad I could help my team get a win.”
Cory Taylor picked up the win for Dallas Baptist, going five innings while giving up four hits and striking out five. Brandon Koch and Drew Smith came on in relief to finish the shutout. Evansville center fielder Kevin Kaczmarski, the MVC Player of the Year, went 0 for 3.
“I felt like (Taylor) has done a good job all year, but that was his best outing of the year,” Heefner said. “The strength of our team is our bullpen, and we saw that with Brandon and Drew coming in the game in a big situation and facing the middle of their order, including Kaczmarski.”
3 5 1
0 4 1
W – Taylor. L – Billo.