Score: Western Illinois 9 - Oral Roberts 4
Records: WIU (9-18, 7-3 SL) - ORU (17-12, 7-3 SL)
Location: Boyer Stadium - Macomb, Ill.
MACOMB, Ill. - Missed opportunities proved costly as the Oral Roberts baseball team dropped the series opener at Western Illinois, 9-4, Friday afternoon at Boyer Stadium in Macomb. The loss marks the first win for the Leathernecks in the series since 2011.
With the win, Western moves into a two-way tie at the top of the conference standings with the Golden Eagles.
Senior Chase Stafford got things going in the fourth as he extended his team-leading doubles count after sending a ball off the left field wall to score Trevin Sonnier from first and put the Golden Eagles on top, 1-0.
Western Illinois (9-18, 7-3 SL) answered quickly in their half of the inning after Chris Tschida led off with a double to the gap in left center field. The Leathernecks put runners on the corners when Mark Garton got on base on a fielders choice. The Golden Eagles turned a double play the next at bat, but Tschida would cross the plate for the tying run.
WIU added three runs in the fifth on a bases-clearing double from Tschida to put the Leathernecks on top, 4-1. In six games in 2015, Western Illinois scored a total of four runs.
Oral Roberts (17-12, 7-3 SL) would chip away at the lead in the sixth when Nick Rotola picked up an RBI groundout to score Michael Hungate from third after he led the inning off with a double down the left-field line.
Sophomore Sam Grellner picked up his first career home run on a two-run shot to left field to tie the game in the seventh at four.
Western Illinois took advantage of the high winds once again in the bottom of the seventh on a leadoff triple out to right followed by a single to score the go-ahead run. Western added a three more runs in the inning after Conner Currier doubled down the line to increase the Leatherneck lead to 8-4.
The Leathernecks added an insurance run in the eighth off a one-out triple that scored in the next at bat.
- It marks the first win for Western since 2013, breaking ORU's 13-game winning streak in the series.
- The nine runs by the Leathernecks are the third most scored in the series.
- The loss is the Golden Eagles' third Friday night loss of the season, all coming against Summit League foes.
- Sam Grellner led the team with a pair of hits, including a two-run home run.
- Bryce Howe falls to 2-2 on the season after giving up five runs in the start.
- Oral Roberts left 11 men on base, including two bases-loaded opportunities.
The team will wrap up the series Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. Nick Wood will start the early game for the Golden Eagles.
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.