TULSA, Ala. – The Oral Roberts baseball team looks to carry momentum over from a weekend sweep on the road as it heads to Lawrence, Kansas to face the Jayhawks in a mid-week tilt Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. on ESPN3.
THE STORYLINE: The Golden Eagles are coming off a three-game road sweep of Alabama over the weekend heading into a mid-week matchup with Kansas. The contest is part of an eight-game road swing where ORU plays five games against Power Five conference foes from three different leagues.
FACING THE JAYHAWKS: Tuesday marks the 42nd all-time appearance between ORU and KU dating back to 1971. The Golden Eagles hold a slim 22-19 edge in the series, but have won four straight and seven of the last nine, including an 8-7 win in Lawrence the last time meeting back in 2014.
POWER FIVE TILTS: Coach Folmar and the Golden Eagles have not shied away from playing some of the nation's best teams from the top conferences. Over the last three seasons, ORU has posted a 14-7 mark against the Power Five, going 9-3 when facing a team from the Big 12. That includes a home-and-home sweep of Oklahoma State and wins over the SEC's Auburn and Mississippi State in 2016 and the recent sweep at Alabama. ORU is an even 18-18 against teams in Power Five conferences during the tenure of Coach Folmar.
WEEKLY AWARD WINNERS: For the first time this season, ORU swept The Summit League weekly honors as Noah Cummings and Miguel Ausua were named Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. Cummings hit .500 with two home runs, six RBI and a .938 slugging percentage during four games. Ausua limited Alabama to just one run on six hits and six strikeouts in six innings of work securing the weekend sweep on the road in Tuscaloosa.
TIMELY BATS: ORU has delivered timely hitting posting 21 RBI with two outs. Cummings has provided nearly half that total leading the charge with 10 two-out RBI as the junior is hitting .500 (6-for-12) with runners in scoring position.
OPENING DAY TURNAROUND: After dropping three of their last four games on opening day under the direction of Head Coach Ryan Folmar, the Golden Eagles cruised to a 10-4 victory in 2017. A six-run fourth inning against Little Rock broke open the contest giving ORU its 32nd all-time win in season openers.
WALKING OFF: For the first time since April 7, 2009, an ORU hitter provided late-inning fireworks hitting a walk-off home run. In the bottom of the 13th inning Feb. 18 against Little Rock, senior Michael Hungate drove a hanging breaking ball well over the fence in left field giving the fans a chance to celebrate a 4-3 victory.
SEE US NATIONALLY: Thirteen ORU baseball games will be available nationally on ESPN3 with nine home games televised. Al Jerkens will have the live play-by-play call, while former ORU pitchers, George Frazier and Jeremy Hefner will provide color commentary.
PUSH THE STREAK: Oral Roberts is in search of extending its league record of 16-straight regular season championships and 17 tournament titles after sweeping the league in 2016.
WELCOME BACK ALL-LEAGUERS: After earning 11 total all-league honors a year ago, ORU first teamers Brent Williams, Matt Whatley, Noah Cummings and Brady Womacks are welcomed back to the roster in 2017. Fellow returners Nick Rotola, Bryce Howe and Cale Tims were all named to the All-Summit League Second Team in 2016.
PRESEASON ACCOLADES: Senior Brady Womacks was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason All-America Third Team as well as landing on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List heading into 2017. The Pevely, Missouri, native led the Golden Eagles with 29 appearances out of the bullpen a season ago totaling 14 saves and a 2-2 record with a 1.22 earned run average. His 14 saves ranked second in ORU single-season history as the right hander struck out 29 batters in 37 innings of work.
WHATLEY WATCH: Junior Matt Whatley was named one of the 10 best catching prospects for the 2017 MLB Draft by HERO Sports Baseball. The Claremore, Oklahoma, native was a 2016 ABCA/Rawlings All-Midwest Region Second Team selection hitting .363 for the Golden Eagles. He also was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List last season holding opponents to 31 stolen bases and gunning down 14 potential base stealers.
RETURNING DEPTH: ORU boasts one of its most experienced lineups in recent history welcoming back 20 letter winners. Those players back in the navy and gold accounted for more than 70 percent of the run and hit total from 2016, including all but seven of the team's home runs. The pitching staff, behind 12 pitchers back on the roster, returns its winning pitcher from 30 of its 38 victories.
DAUNTING SCHEDULE: ORU again faces a daunting schedule in 2017 taking on three NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago, including two games against Oklahoma State, a College World Series participant. In total, the schedule features seven teams that ended the 2016 campaign ranked in the nation's top 85 by RPI.
HOSTING THE BEST: The top four teams in the league's regular-season standings will qualify for The Summit League Baseball Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As defending champions, ORU is set to host the four-team event at J.L. Johnson Stadium from May 24-27.
EXTENDED HOMESTAND: An 11-game homestand from March 10-26 gives the Golden Eagles a chance to show off recent renovations to the infield, bullpens and graphics behind home plate. ORU starts by hosting 2016 NCAA Regional participant Dallas Baptist for a three-game set and caps the stretch against Summit League foe South Dakota State.
STAYING CONNECTED: Follow the Golden Eagles all season long across social media platforms and two mobile apps (ORU Golden Eagles Live and ORU Front Row) available on Google Play and the App State. Use the hashtag #ORUBase to stay connected with fans across the nation.
For the latest information on ORU Baseball, follow the Golden Eagles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading two mobile apps, ORU Golden Eagles Live and ORU Front Row, available on the App Store and Google Play.