Dallas Baptist (44-19), who finished the season with 40 or more wins for the third year in a row, will return to Dallas after a valiant effort against Texas Tech in the Lubbock Regional.
Their NCAA Regional appearance was very similar to their final game. They got behind the 8-ball early and could never get back ahead. Texas Tech scored first and although DBU answered twice, Tech always had an answer of their own. Similarly to how DBU lost game one of the regional and battled to reach game seven, they just could not overcome the hole they dug themselves.
DBU, who was the regular season and tournament champion of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), may feel like their season is ending at a familiar place. They have lost in the Regional round of the NCAA tournament each of the past two years as well. There is no reason for the Patriots to hang their heads though. Each of the past two seasons a team from their Regional ended up playing in the College World Series, and with Texas Tech hosting East Carolina in the Super Regional, it is likely that streak reaches three seasons as well.
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Dallas Baptist ended their season with a lot of momentum. Starting in May, they won 13 of their 16 games entering the tournament and three in a row before falling to Texas Tech. They dominated their conference in 2016, going 19-5 overall against MVC foes. However, they did struggle notably against Big 12 teams, going 3-7 against Big 12 teams, including the NCAA Tournament.
Despite the loss to end the season, there is a lot to look forward to. Most of their roster is set to return next season (pending the upcoming MLB Draft June 9-11), including seven of their regular defensive starters. If their offensive leaders, junior Darick Hall and freshmen Jameson Hannah, both return and continue to improve – on top of the probable improvement of ace-starting pitcher Colin Poche, a redshirt junior, who led the team in innings pitched and was tied for first with nine wins – there is little reason to believe this team cannot be back in this same spot again. They could even advance to the Super Regional round, which they have not done since 2011.
DBU should be able to positively reflect on this season, but with such great talent returning, they should also be setting their sights on another appearance in the NCAA tournament next season. They can use this year as a learning experience. If they are able to mature mentally and physically this offseason, then they may find themselves hosting a Super Regional or in Omaha in the near future.