HUTCHINSON, Kan. - The fifth-seed Dakota State and fourth-seed Tabor (Kan.) both made their debut Thursday in the Hutchinson (Kan.) bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round at Hobart-Detter Field. The Bluejays quickly scored the first nine runs in the first three inning to gain a 9-0 lead. The Trojans mounted a rally late in the game, but fell short by the score of 9-7.
Dakota State dropped their overall record to 28-27. Tabor, a member of Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and host-school for the national tournament's opening round, improved their record to 42-14.
Tabor quickly jumped to an early lead in the opening inning of the game. The Bluejays produced six runs on six hits to earn a 6-0 lead.
TC added two more runs in the bottom of the second inning. Tyler Kozlowski scored from by DSU's balk and Matt Weger added an RBI single to extend Tabor's lead to 8-0.
The Bluejays made it 9-0 in the bottom third inning by Art Corona's RBI single.
Dakota State broke their scoring drought in the top of the fourth inning. Anyelo Roman hit a single to open the inning. Ryan Steffensen added a single with one out to advance Anyelo Roman to third base. Max Garza recorded a two-out RBI single to score Anyelo Roman to trim TC's lead to 9-1.
Anyelo Roman hit his 17th home run of the season (DSU school record) as the Trojans cut their deficit to 9-2 in the top of the fifth inning.
The Trojans mounted a comeback in the top of the seventh inning with five runs scored. Kyle Holland opened the seventh with a single. Rays Roman reached on base by a walk and advanced Holland to second base. Anyelo Roman hit a single to set up a bases loaded and no outs situation for DSU. Steffensen recorded an RBI single with one out to score Holland. Jason Hershfield produced a 2-RBI double to bring Rays and Anyelo Roman home. Garza added an RBI ground out to score Steffensen to trim DSU's deficit to 9-7.
Dakota State was unable to score in the final two innings as Tabor secured the victory.
The Bluejays were scoreless for five straight innings after scoring the first nine runs of the game in the first three innings.
Anyelo Roman was 3-for-5 at the plate with a home run, two singles, three runs scored and an RBI for the Trojans. Steffensen added three hits and an RBI. Holland recorded three singles and scored once. Hershfield added a double, a single and two RBIs. Garza had a single and two RBIs. Kyle Braun had a hit and an RBI. Ryan Bourcier added a single.
Weger had three singles and two RBIs for Tabor. Paul Sciacca added three singles. Corona and Colby Tessendorf each had two singles. Kozlowski, Koby Temple, Adam McCormick and Spencer Putman each added a hit.
Both teams had 14 hits in the game.
DSU left eight runners on base. The Bluejays had seven runners left on base.
Brandon Womack (6-3) recorded the loss for the Trojans. He pitched one-plus innings and allowed eight runs on seven hits. Seth Doxey worked seven innings in relief. He gave up one run on seven hits.
Nicholas Reif (6-3) picked up the victory for Tabor. He pitched six-plus innings and allowed four runs on 10 hits. Matt Lambert worked two innings in relief and gave up three runs on four hits. Brian Kowal recorded his third save of the season as he pitched a shutout ninth inning.
Dakota State plays in the loser's out game Friday morning at 11 a.m. in the five-team double elimination tournament format. The Trojans will face the loser of No. 3 seed Rogers State (Okla.)-No. 2 seed Judson (Ill.). Tabor moves on to play the top-seed Oklahoma Baptist tonight (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m.
Schedule for Hutchinson (Kan.) bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Opening Round:
Thursday, May 10
Game 1: (4) Tabor (Kan.) 9, (5) Dakota State (S.D.) 7
Game 2: No. 3 seed Rogers State vs. No. 2 seed Judson (Ill.) - 2:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 1 seed Oklahoma Baptist vs. No. 4 seed Tabor (Kan.) - 6:30 p.m.
Friday, May 11
Game 4: No. 5 seed Dakota State vs. Game 2 loser - 11 a.m. (Elimination Game)
Game 5: Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner - 2:30 p.m. (Winner's Bracket)
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 3 loser - 6:30 p.m. (Elimination Game)
Saturday, May 12
Game 7: Game 6 winner vs. Game 5 loser - 3 p.m. (Elimination Game)
Game 8: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner - 6:30 p.m. (Championship Game)
Monday, May 14
Game 9: Game 8 winner vs. Game 8 loser - 1 p.m. (If necessary - second championship game)
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director