By The Associated Press
WACO — Reliever Dillon Newman allowed only an infield hit in five shutout innings and Jake Miller drove in three runs to help Baylor beat Dallas Baptist 8-2 Monday to win the Waco Regional and host a Super Regional.
Baylor (48-15) will host Arkansas (42-19), winner of the Houston Regional, beginning Saturday at Baylor Ballpark. It is the Bears’ first Super Regional appearance since 2005, when they beat Clemson in Waco and advanced to the College World Series.
Dallas Baptist ended its season at 41-19.
Baylor did it the hard way, fighting its way out of the losers’ bracket to win four straight games after dropping its opener to Oral Roberts, 4-2, on Friday.
“We proved to ourselves that we can do that,” said leftfielder Dan Evatt, chosen the regional’s most outstanding player after hitting .474 this weekend, including 3-for-4 with three runs scored in Monday’s title game. “I didn’t say anything, but I fully expected us to come back and win this thing. We’ve been through tough times and we can face adversity.”
DBU took a 1-0 lead on Joel Hutter’s RBI single after freshman starter Cy Sneed (8-5) retired the Bears 1-2-3 in the first inning — only the second time in five tournament games Baylor had gone down in order.
But Sneed didn’t make it out of the second inning. The Bears used two hits, three walks, a hit batsman and a sacrifice fly to score three runs and take a lead they never gave up.
After taking his first loss of the season in Friday’s opener, Baylor starter Josh Turley pitched four innings on two days’ rest, allowing two runs, before Newman (4-3) came on in the fifth and shut the Patriots down the rest of the way.
“He was just mixing it up,” said DBU first baseman Ryan Behmanesh. “He’s got a plus curveball and a plus splitter. And when he’s throwing those two for strikes, he’s going to give you trouble.”
Newman entered with a 3-2 lead, but the Bears added an insurance run on Nathan Orf’s RBI single in the sixth and two more in the seventh to break it open. Singles by Josh Ludy, Evatt and Lawton Langford loaded the bases, and Ludy broke for the plate after Langford was caught in a rundown after rounding first base.
Second baseman Austin Elkins’ throw home was in time, but the burly Ludy bowled over Patriots catcher Duncan McAlpine and jarred the ball loose to score. Jake Miller greeted reliever Stuart Pudenz with an RBI double to cap the inning.