What UVA Baseball fans need to know about Dallas Baptist
Dallas Baptist can rake – six have OBPs over .400, five are in double-digits in homers and slugging over .500, four are hitting better than .300.
Dallas Baptist can also sling it – one starter has 13 wins, two others have ERAs under three, and the staff averages 10 Ks per nine.
You can dismiss the schedule, but it ranked 68th in D1, and the Patriots are 10-4 against teams that received bids to the 2021 NCAA Tournament, including a 3-1 run in last weekend’s Fort Worth Regional, which had DBU beating the host TCU and a pair of games against Oregon State from the Pac-12.
There’s a lot to like about this Dallas Baptist team. Let’s break it down.
The Game 1 starter will be Dominic Hamel, a 6’2” junior with big numbers as the staff ace (13-2, 3.95 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 129K/31BB, .201 opponent BA in 86.2 IP).
Hamel has been getting touched up a bit of late – giving up five runs on five hits in six and a third in his win over Oregon State in the regional opener last week, and dating back to the start of May, he’s allowed 20 earned runs on 28 hits in 27 innings, with 33 Ks and 13 walks.
So, he’s hittable. But also, he can be unhittable – he’s had six starts this season with double-digit Ks.
Rhett Kouba (6-1, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 82K/22BB, .217 opponent BA in 67.1 IP) is your Game 2 starter.
Kouba, a 6’0” sophomore, also got touched up last weekend in his start against TCU, giving up six runs on six hits in a no-decision in what ended up being an 8-6 DBU win.
That outing was the only one of the season in which Kouba gave up more than four earned runs.
If we go to a Game 3, the likely starter would be 6’5”, 270-pound redshirt junior Luke Eldred (4-0, 2.23 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 32K/10BB, .177 opponent batting average in 32.1 IP).
Eldred was the mid-week guy most of the season, with just three of his 10 outings going five or more innings.
He gave up two runs on six hits in three and a third in a no-decision in what turned into a 5-4 loss to Oregon State last weekend, the only blemish for Dallas Baptist in the regional.
The closer at the back end is 6’1” junior lefty Peyton Sherlin (0-1, 4 saves, 2.63 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 44K/24BB, .158 opponent BA in 37.2 IP).
The setup guys include 6’0” senior Kragen Kechely (3-4, 2 saves, 2.08 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 32K/14BB, .202 opponent BA in 30.1 IP), 6’2” freshman Zane Russell (1-0,1 save, 2.37 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 16K/9BB, .203 opponent BA in 19 IP) and 6’2” sophomore Chandler Arnold (3-0, 1 save, 3.94 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 33K/23BB, .267 opponent batting average in 29.2 IP).
If one of the Game 1 or 2 starters gets knocked out early, and coach Dan Heefner needs to eat up innings, expect him to either go with Eldred (if the game is close) or 6’4 junior Ray Gaither (2-2, 5.56 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 41 K/29 BB, .290 opponent BA in 43.2 IP).
Two-hole hitter Jackson Glenn (19 HR, 51 RBI, 13-13 SB/SBA, .364 BA, 1.151 OPS) is the linchpin of a deep and talented DBU 1-9.
The leadoff man, River Town (10 HR, 51 RBI, 20-23 SB/SBA, .329 BA, .963 OPS), is among four in the lineup with an OBP of .400+.
Other guys to watch include outfielder Jace Grady (4 HR, 39 RBI, 15-18 SB/SBA, .343 BA, .972 OPS), sophomore first baseman Cole Moore (11 HR, 46 RBI, .331 BA, 1.040 OPS), senior outfielder Austin Bell (10 HR, 39 RBI, .278 BA, 1.007 OPS), freshman third baseman Andrew Benefield (8 HR, 40 RBI, 8-11 SB/SBA, .280 BA, .846 OPS) and junior shortstop Blayne Jones (11 HR, 34 RBI, .226 BA, .784 OPS).
Dallas Baptist opponents stole a total of nine bases on the year on 21 attempts. The starting catcher, 5’10” senior Christian Boulware, allowed only three steals in 11 attempts in 2021.
Benefield, at third base, has 15 errors in 2021.
The middle infield – Glenn at second (nine errors) and Jones (seven errors) at short – is solid.
Story by Chris Graham