TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- In their first season as members of the Missouri Valley Conference, the Dallas Baptist Patriots claimed the MVC tournament title with a 4-1 win against Illinois State on Saturday night at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, Indiana. The victory is the 40th of the season for DBU and solidifies its place in the field of 64 teams that will earn a ticket to the NCAA regionals.
Making just his third start of this year and the fourth of his career, DBU sophomore Joseph Shaw was brilliant on a night where runs were at a premium. After giving up a solo homerun to Brock Stewart in the second, Shaw settled in to post zeros on the scoreboard over the next four innings. Coming off an outing on Friday in which he was saddled with the loss versus Missouri State in extra innings, Shaw baffled the Redbirds lineup, striking out eight batters, while allowing just five hits.
Down 1-0 through the first six innings, DBU (40-19) tied the game when Austin Listi ripped a Dan Savas pitch down the left field line and over the wall for his team-leading tenth homerun of the season. Savas, who had thrown 6.1 innings and 119 pitches on Tuesday in a win against Wichita State, had been nearly untouchable until the Listi blast. The Patriots had threatened on three different occasions on the night with runners in scoring position, but Savas was able to work out of each jam before Listi tied the game in the seventh.
Tied at one in the top of the eight, DBU loaded the bases when KJ Alexander drew a walk, followed by a Nash Knight base on balls, and a Camden Duzenack infield single. Illinois State (33-22) made the move to the bullpen for closer Jeremy Rhoades with nobody out and the bases full. A Drew Turbin triple to the gap in right center that just missed the outstretched glove of Redbirds' center fielder, Sean Beesley, cleared the bases, giving DBU their first lead of the night at 4-1.
Cody Beam came on in relief in the bottom of the eighth to post a scoreless frame. After the Patriots went quietly in their half of the ninth, Beam walked the first two batters he faced before being lifted for Paul Voelker.
Making his first appearance out of the pen since May 25 of last year, Voelker walked the first man he faced to load the bases. With the tying run on base and the winning run at the plate, he pitched out of the jam, retiring the next two batters he faced, before getting Mason Snyder to pop out in foul ground to first baseman, Mike Wesolowski, giving DBU the Missouri Valley Conference tournament title.
"This is a great win for our program and a testament to all the hard work these guys put in well before the season even started," DBU head coach Dan Heefner said. "Joseph Shaw was outstanding on the mound and gave us a chance; and guys like Listi and Turbin stepped up and delivered when we needed a big hit."
Four members of the DBU team were named to the Missouri Valley Conference all-tournament team including first baseman Mike Wesolowski, second baseman Drew Turbin, shortstop Camden Duzenack, and pitcher Cy Sneed. Duzenack was also named the MVC tournament's most outstanding player.