Posted: Friday, 17 May 2013 12:50AM

Drury drops roller coaster NCAA regional opener

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Fifth-seeded Lewis answered a Drury rally with a big one of its own, scoring six times in the eighth to go on to an 11-8 win over the second-seed Panthers in an NCAA-II Midwest Regional first-round game late Thursday night at Meador Park.

The loss knocked the Panthers (39-16) into an elimination game at noon on Friday against top-seed Ashland, which fell 13-10 to No. 6 seed Bellarmine in Thursday's opener. No. 3 seed Grand Valley State defeated fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's 6-5 in Thursday's other first-round contest.

Bellarmine will play Saint Joseph's at 3 p.m. and Grand Valley State will take on Lewis at 6 in Friday's other contests.

Drury appeared to be in great shape after scoring five times in the seventh to grab an 8-5 lead over the Flyers (32-16) and chase their ace, lefty standout Tom Helwich, from the game. Helwich came in with a 10-2 record and a 1.30 ERA, but surrendered 12 hits and eight runs (all earned) in his 6 2/3 innings.

The key blow for the Panthers in the rally was a two-run blast to right by redshirt freshman Payton Reed, his fourth homer of the season, which followed an RBI double by Colton Jones, an infield RBI single by Nick Thimesch and Caleb Cole's RBI double to awaken the Drury offense.

But the lead was short-lived, as Lewis stung the DU bullpen with six runs on just four hits in the eighth to grab the lead for good. Three walks, an error - the only one of the game - and a wild pitch contributed to the Panthers' meltdown in the frame.

"This is a tough one to swallow," Drury coach Scott Nasby said. "We were six outs away and we weren't able to close the door. We're glad it's a double-elimination tournament.

"We hit it well all night against the best left-handed pitcher in the region. You have to credit Lewis and their hitters for the way they bounced back in the eighth and the way they were able to finish a game."

Drury out-hit the Flyers 15-12, with Reed finishing with a 4-for-5 night with three driven in and Cole going 3 for 5 with three runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Jones and Thimesch also had two hits each.

DU closer Laurent Zenoni (2-2) took the loss. Starter Will Landsheft allowed seven hits and five runs in his six innings pitched, striking out eight and walking one.

Matt Frahm (8-2) picked up the win for the Flyers with two innings of scoreless relief.

Michael Schroeder had three hits and four RBIs, Drew Buddle went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs tand Ben Albano had a solo homer in the second among his two hits o pace the Flyers' attack, in which the first six hitters in the order accounted for all 12 hits.

DU will send sophomore right-hander Trevor Richards (9-3) to the mound in Friday's quick turnaround game, which will start just over 12 hours after the Panthers finished Thursday's contest shortly before midnight on a day when afternoon rains threw the schedule out of whack.

"We will take our chances with Richards," Nasby said. "He wants the ball, and we want him with it."

Filed Under :  
Topics : BaseballDrury
People : Caleb ColeColton JonesNick ThimeschPayton ReedScott Nasby
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