FORT WORTH, Texas -- Two Cinderellas showed up in the championship round of the Fort Worth Regional, but after Oral Roberts beat Dallas Baptist 7-2 on Sunday night, each program's dream stayed alive for at least one more night.
Monday night, the two will play a winner-take-all rematch for a trip to the super regionals.
Between the two, Oral Roberts' trip to Clemson in 2006 is the only super regional appearance in either's history. The Golden Eagles defeated Oklahoma and host TCU, both participants in the 2010 College World Series, to reach Dallas Baptist, which waited in the winner's bracket after winning consecutive games against Oklahoma and TCU in its second NCAA regional in program history.
Oral Roberts' run on Sunday setup a final between the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds, and a crowd of 2,920 that heavily favored nearby Dallas Baptist will have to make the jaunt west to Fort Worth one more night.
"Our fans have been great, and I thought that in all three games. In the first game against Oklahoma, I thought we had more fans here than they did," Dallas Baptist manager Dan Heefner said.
With TCU eliminated, the partisanship of the crowd has tilted even further in the Patriots favor.
"I think that's kind of an advantage we have right now, being so close to home," Heefner said. "We've got our fans here, so we need to take advantage [on Monday night]."
The Golden Eagles bullpen got a much-needed boost at the end of long day ("I think we all lost some weight today for sure," said ORU manager Dan Walton of the doubleheader in the heat) by Mark Guest, who allowed just five hits and two runs in his first career complete game.
"We get scouting reports and we call around," Heefner said, "but we didn't have a ton on him, because he hadn't thrown a ton on the year."
The two teams hadn't met in two years, and Guest, who missed time earlier this year with a torn pectoral muscle, had pitched just 16 innings this season entering his start on Sunday night. Using a three-pitch repertoire of fastball, changeup and slider, he kept the Patriots batters baffled.
"Last year, he actually led our team in ERA," Walton said of Guest, whose performance he called "special." "He struggled through that injury, but him coming back was a big key to the depth of our pitchers, and I said yesterday, he's more than capable of throwing well. ... It's not like he's an unknown commodity."
Guest's performance came with an early cushion, a 4-0 lead after two innings on the mound, highlighted by a two-run home run to right field by designated hitter Brandon King in the top of the third inning. First baseman Jared Schlehuber homered in the top of the eighth to offer even more leeway and help the Golden Eagles win without trailing.
Guest, a native of nearby Plano, Texas, notched a win against Texas in Austin last season, and set up the high-stakes rematch on Monday night against Dallas Baptist.
"I don't think I'll be welcomed back in the state," he said.
Sunday's nightcap also featured a 29-minute lightning delay in the top of the fifth inning, but Guest said the time allowed him to re-focus, and he was at his best late in the game with Dallas Baptist threatening to punch a ticket to the super regionals on Sunday night.
"Obviously, he had his 'A game.'" Walton said.