Doane baseball wins first game at national tournament

The Doane baseball team opened the 2011 NAIA National Championship Opening Round with a 9-2 victory over the University of Texas-Brownsville in play taking place in Oklahoma City.  The victory moves the Tigers into a match-up with the top-seed, Oklahoma City University at 6:00 PM on Thursday evening.

Doane pounded out 14 hits in the game and chased the Scorpions starting pitcher, Chris Raley, after two innings.  The Tigers' approach was aggressive but the focus was also to have good at-bats which led to six walks.

“We learned early in the season that we were not a home run hitting team and that we needed to be focused on good at-bats,” commented Tiger Head Coach Jeremy Jorgensen.  “We took what the pitcher was giving us and that approach over the past week is what we were doing early in the year when we were successful.”

Doane threatened in the first inning but left the bases loaded.  The Tigers continued to battle and drove in two runs in the second inning.

With one down, Ethan Schroeder doubled down the left field line and moved to third on an infield single by Dylan Flott.  Following a walk to Anthony Hincy to load the bases, AJ Spanel picked up a sacrifice fly to bring in the first run of the game.  Mike Albert added a single to drive in Flott to give Doane a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers faced a threat from the Scorpions in the third as Gus Henggeler led off the inning with a single.  Brad Regear came in and ran for Henggeler and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt.  Regear tried to advance to third in the next at-bat but Doane catcher, Anthony Dunn, threw him out at third base.

The play helped spark the Tigers as they came back with three runs in the bottom of the third.  Doane attacked the new pitcher, Baylr Bickerton, by collecting three hits.  With runners at the corners, Schroeder singled through the right side to plate Thomas Albert.  Hincy brought in two more runs as he reached on an error.

Texas-Brownsville challenged Doane starter Nick Dawson in the fourth by picking up three walks to load the bases with one out.  Dawson was able to induce a pair of fly outs to prevent a run from scoring.

A leadoff walk in the fifth for UTB saw the end of the line for Dawson.  The Tigers turned to Britton Scheele and the Scorpions were able to collect two hits against the right-hander.  Scheele was able to get out of the inning by inducing a double play.

Doane added two runs in the sixth behind three hits.  With one down, Flott singled and Hincy doubled to give the Tigers a pair of runners in scoring position.  Following a ground ball to a drawn in infield, Mike Albert was intentionally walked to bring up Dunn with two outs.  Dunn sent the second pitch he saw back up the middle to drive in Flott and Hincy to give Doane a 7-2 advantage.  The hit also extended Dunn's current hit-streak to 16 games.

The Scorpions came back with a run in the eighth with an RBI-ground out.  Doane, again, answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.  Hincy led off the inning with a double to the left field wall and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Albert.  Tyler Lohr scored the Tigers' final run on a two-out single by Thomas Albert.

Scheele threw four innings for the Tigers, allowing three hits and one run in picking up the victory.

“Britton was pitching the way he is capable of,” Jorgensen said. “I can't say enough about today's effort, he came out and pitched with confidence.  A lot of teams would get geared to see a relief pitcher early in the game but he attacked the strike zone and was consistent with throwing strikes with every pitch.”

Myles Arehart threw the final inning, allowing two hits but used a double play to help end the threat by Texas-Brownsville.

At the plate, Schroeder went 3-for-4 with two runs and a RBI.  Mike Albert went 2-for-3 with two RBIs as he extended his hitting streak to 15 games.  Hincy, West and Flott added two hit games for the Tigers.

“I'm happy with how the guys came out and played their game,” Jorgensen said of the team's effort.  “It's easy to let emotions overwhelm you but the guys kept their composure throughout the game.”