In a game that profiled as a pitchers duel, it was the home run ball that took center stage. The Dallas Baptist Patriots got three home runs which accounted for five of their six runs in their 6-5 Game One victory over Virginia in the Columbia Super Regional. Starters Andrew Abbott and Dominic Hamel got top billing and both pitched well but it wasn’t the low scoring affair most had suspected. The Patriots got home runs from Jackson Glenn, Andres Sosa, and Andrew Benefield while Virginia got two home runs of their own from Alex Tappen and Jake Gelof. Once again, the weather took center stage as the skies over Columbia opened up causing an almost four hour rain delay after the completion of the eighth inning.
Dallas Baptist jumped on Abbott early getting a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. River Town led off the inning for the Patriots with a base hit up the middle. That brought up Glenn who did what he’s done all year hitting his 20th home run of the season. It was a no doubter on a really good pitch from Abbott and gave the Patriots the early 2-0 lead.
Abbott would settle down, scattering just two hits over this next three innings, which kept Virginia in it until Alex Tappen led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run. Not to be outdone, Jake Gelof then launched a moonshot over the left field wall giving the Hoos back-to-back home runs and tying the game at two. But the Hoos weren’t done. Chris Newell drew a walk and advanced to third on a double off the top of the wall by Zach Gelof. Then after Hamel got Max Cotier on a strikeout and the Patriots intentionally walked Kyle Teel, Devin Ortiz continued his Columbia dominance with a bases clearing double giving Virginia a 5-2 lead.
The Patriots would get one back in the bottom half of the fifth. Abbott came out dealing and got a quick strike out, but after a walk to Town, Glenn delivered again doubling down the left field line and moving Town to third. The next batter, Jace Grady grounded a ball to Nic Kent at shortstop who was able to throw out Glenn at third, but Town came across the plate making the score 5-3 Cavaliers.
After Ray Gaither entered the game to spell Dominic Hamel and retiring the Hoos in order, the Patriots got things going putting runners at the corners with nobody out. That would end the day for Abbott as he gave way to Zach Messinger. Abbott went 5.0 innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts. Then in a strange sequence of events, Messinger got Christian Boulware to fly out to right. While Teel’s rocket throw from right got past the cutoff man, it was strong enough to keep Ryan Wrobleski from scoring from third and in a bit of fortune, Blayne Jones was thrown out trying to take second. That base running error would prove costly for the Patriots as the next batter Sosa, hit an opposite-field home run tying the game at five.
Dallas Baptist wasn’t done though as they’d retake the lead in the bottom of the seventh when Benefield ripped an opposite field bomb with two outs and nobody on. Virginia threatened in the top of the eighth. After Ortiz singled and Kent was hit by a pitch, Tappen took a 3-2 pitch off the inner part of his back knee to load the bases with nobody out. Unfortunately for Virginia the umpires reviewed the play determining that Tappen leaned his knee into the pitch and instead of a walk, was called out. That ended the rally and left the Hoos trailing 6-5.
At about 3:15 PM, as the Hoos were coming to bat in the top of the ninth inning, the game was delayed due to lightning and inclement weather on the horizon. After a 3:56 delay, the two teams came back to the field with Virginia down a run. Logan Michaels led off with a walk and was pinch run for by Jimmy Sullivan who moved to second on a Newell sacrifice bunt. Zack Gelof then just missed a home run or extra bases when his rocket to center fell just shy of the wall, though Sullivan was able to move to third. The inning would end abruptly however when Cotier lined out to the first baseman ending the rally.
On the day, Zach Gelof and Ortiz both had two hits apiece including a double while Ortiz led the way with three RBI.
These two will be at it again Sunday with a trip to Omaha on the line for DBU and UVA playing to extend the series to Monday. That game is at 12 PM and will be on ESPN2 or ESPNU.