Score: Oral Roberts 8 - Auburn 7
Records: ORU (7-5) - AU (6-8)
Location: Plainsman Park - Auburn Ala.
AUBURN, Ala. - The Oral Roberts baseball team was able to hang on Friday afternoon, defeating the home standing Auburn Tigers, 8-7, at Plainsman Park in the series opener.
The Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the Golden Eagles (7-5) defense, which had been strong throughout the day, made the plays needed to secure the teams' seventh win of the season and the first between the two schools.
Auburn (5-7) led off the ninth with a pair of base hits to put pressure on the Golden Eagle pitching staff. With the bases loaded and no outs, the Tigers' Jackson Burgreen picked up a seven-pitch walk to force home a run before Kyler Deese drove in the second run on a sacrifice fly.
That was when ORU went to the bullpen for the second time in the frame, calling upon the hard throwing right-hander in Holden Cammack. The Colleyville, Texas native made a fantastic play on a ball against the first batter he saw as Auburn tried for a safety squeeze. Cammack fielded the ball and threw to home to get the tying run for the second out of the inning. He induced a fielder's choice up the third base line to pick up the final out of the ballgame and his second save of the season.
ORU starter Bryce Howe made his fourth straight Friday start but only went three and a third before true freshman Josh McMinn (1-2) got the call from the bullpen. McMinn, a right-hander, allowed just four hits on the day and two runs in four and two third innings in the win. The Oklahoma City native retired at one point 10-straight Tiger batters up until the ninth inning.
It didn't take long as the Golden Eagles jumped on top of the Tigers in the first after Nick Roark sent a double off the right center field wall, allowing Nick Rotola, who led the game off with a walk to score easily.
In the very next at bat sophomore catcher Matt Whatley picked up his second triple of the season as he blasted a ball over the head of Auburn First Team All-SEC center fielder Anfernee Grier for the second run of the inning.
Roark didn't wait around to make more noise in the series opener as the second-year man sent his fourth home run of the season out of Plainsman Park to extend the Oral Roberts lead to 3-0 in the top of the third.
The scoring didn't end there as ORU loaded the bases with two outs and sophomore right fielder Noah Cummings delivered an RBI single to score Brent Williams from third.
Auburn got things going in the third after loading the bases with no outs. Jordan Ebert singled through the right side breaking the scoring drought for the Tigers, scoring Joshua Palacios. AU picked up a pair of runs on a sacrifice fly to left field and an RBI single to right field to cut the Golden Eagle lead to 4-3.
Auburn kept the momentum going in the fourth as the Tigers used four hits to score a pair of runs. It marked five unanswered runs for the home squad.
Oral Roberts got back into the scoring action in the sixth as redshirt senior Trevin Sonnier reached base on a hit-by-pitch before taking second on a wild pitch. That was when Rotola earned his second base hit of the afternoon on an RBI infield single to tie the ballgame at six.
After Rotola stole second and a Roark walk, Whatley broke the game open with a three-run home run over the scoreboard in left-center for his second home run of the season.
- Four players finished with two hits on the day, including Cummings, Roark, Rotola and Whatley. Whatley drove in a team-high four runs. Roark picked up two walks.
- Whatley extended his hitting streak to a team-high 11 games this season and 15 overall dating back to last season with a triple in the first inning.
- Both Williams and Whatley have reached base in 12 consecutive contests.
- Auburn outhit the Golden Eagles, 11-10, buth the Golden Eagles went for four extra base hits.
- Each team stranded the bases loaded in the third inning. Auburn left 12 runners on base in the contest while ORU left seven on.
- Auburn's Ben Braymer (1-3) took the loss. Justin Camp went five and two thirds in his start, allowing seven hits and six runs. The right-hander struck out three and issued three walks on the day.
ORU will continue the series Saturday at 2 p.m. as Logan Michaels will take the mound for the Golden Eagles. The game will be available on the SEC Network/WatchESPN as well as on 1550 AM in the Tulsa area and around the world on ORUAthletics.com.
For the latest information on ORU baseball, follow @ORUBaseball on Twitter or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Golden Eagles Front Row App at ORUAthletics.com/frontrow or in the App Store.