Game One: ORU 10, IPFW 4 - Game Two: IPFW 4, ORU 2
Records: Oral Roberts (24-13, 13-4) - Fort Wayne (19-20, 5-12)
Location: J.L. Johnson Stadium - Tulsa, Okla.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Oral Roberts baseball team split a pair of road contests with Fort Wayne Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles took the series opener 10-4, before falling in the nightcap 4-2. With the split, ORU is now 24-13 on the season and 13-4 in Summit League action.
An offensive explosion helped the Golden Eagles extend their seven-game winning streak. Trailing 4-2 heading into the fourth inning, Oral Roberts struck for seven runs to take a commanding 9-4 lead that would hold strong for the remainder of the game.
ORU (24-13, 13-4) was able to get things started in the first when Nick Rotola kicked off the game with a single through the right side followed by a Noah Cummings walk. The Mastodons looked to get out of the inning unscathed but a fielding error plated both Rotola and Cummings for the first runs of the day.
Fort Wayne hit right back in their half of the first, going for three runs to regain the lead. Consecutive singles and a fielding error allowed the Dons' to load the bases with no outs. ORU starting pitcher Bryce Howe looked to get himself out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts, but IPFW's Brandon Soat made the Golden Eagles pay with a bases-clearing double to center field.
Fort Wayne (19-20, 5-12) would add on to its lead in the second when Evan VanSumeren singled home Shannon Baker from second after he led off the frame with a base hit.
That was when the Oral Roberts bats came alive for a seven-spot in the fourth. Three walks were issued in the inning while the squad went for five base hits. Trevin Sonnier, Noah Cummings, Matt Whatley and Nick Roark each picked up RBI singles to push the Golden Eagles ahead.
After a shaky start on the mound right-hander Bryce Howe settled down to finish the game and pick up his third win of the season. In total, Howe went seven innings and allowed just one earned run while striking out four Mastodons. Kyler Stout made his third appearance out of the bullpen to close out the game. The righty did not allow a hit in the final two innings and struck out two of the seven batters he faced.
Rotola, a redshirt junior, would lead the Golden Eagles offensively with two base hits, an RBI and two runs scored. The Wichita, Kan. native was the only player to strike for multiple hits in the game finishing 2-for-5. Cummings, a sophomore, also finished the day with a pair of RBI and three walks.
Similar to the opening game of the series, the Golden Eagles struck for two runs in the first off a two-run home run from Matt Whatley. It marked the seventh home run of the year for the sophomore catcher who now leads the club in the category.
The Mastodons answered back once more with a trio of runs in the bottom half of the frame to claim the lead once more. Right-hander Nick Wood did not have any problems retiring the first two batters he saw, but IPFW made a rally after a walk and single to ignite the offense.
A single from right fielder Shane Trevino scored the first run of the game followed by a two-run double from Brock Logan to clear the bases and give IPFW what would be the game-winning runs.
Shane Trevino continued to terrorize the Golden Eagles in the third as he pushed the Fort Wayne lead to 4-2 with a solo home run to right.
Oral Roberts went to the bullpen early in freshman Josh McMinn and the right-hander did not disappoint, going five strong innings and not allowing a run. McMinn finished the day tying his career high with seven strikeouts.
The Golden Eagles best chance at breaking the game open came in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and just one out. The Mastodons went to their bullpen to stop the rally, and Jordan Martin closed the door, striking out Nick Roark and inducing an inning-ending flyout.
Wood was charged with the loss after allowing four runs in three innings of work. The redshirt senior fell to 4-2 on the season. On the other side, Trevor Storie (4-5) earned the win, going six and a third innings and giving up just five hits.
- The Golden Eagles now lead the all-time series with the Mastodons, 27-5. IPFW has won two games in the series this year, including a Friday night win in Tulsa on March 25.
- With the game one win, ORU won its season-best seventh game in-a-row.
- Nick Roark led the way on the day, hitting .375 on 3-fo-8, including a double and two RBI.
- Matt Whatley leads the team with seven home runs after his two-run blast in the first inning of game two.
- Bryce Howe improved to 3-2 on the season with the win in game one. He has now struck out 52 batters on the year which is second in the league.
- Oral Roberts will look to take the series in Sunday's rubber match. The last time ORU dropped a conference series was during the 2015 season against South Dakota State in Tulsa (April 24-26).
The team will finish its series with the Mastodons Sunday at 11 a.m. central. Sophomore Cale Tims will get the nod on the mound while IPFW counters with southpaw Brandon Pease.
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.