BROOKINGS, S.D. – Oral Roberts baseball opens the second half of The Summit League slate holding a five-game lead as it travels to South Dakota State for three games April 21-23 at Erv Huether Field.
THE STORYLINE: The Golden Eagles try to bounce back from a back-and-forth loss in extra innings at Oklahoma State Tuesday by traveling to South Dakota State for a three-game series. ORU still has won 17 of its last 20 games entering the weekend.
FACING THE JACKRABBITS: ORU holds a commanding 36-12 in the all-time series against SDSU, including a three-game sweep this March in Tulsa. The Golden Eagles have won 10 straight over the Jackrabbits and only twice dropped a series. ORU travels to Brookings ranked 98th in the latest NCAA RPI release, while SDSU is 251st nationally.
POWER NUMBERS: Behind nine RBI during a doubleheader at Omaha, Noah Cummings jumped to No. 19 in the nation with 43 RBI this season. He posted five-straight games with multiple RBI and continues to pace The Summit League with nine home runs in 35 starts as the Golden Eagles are 19th in the nation hitting 41 home runs.
PITCHING PROWESS: Not to be overlooked by the offense, ORU's pitching staff boasts the NCAA's 17th-best earned run average (3.18) to lead The Summit League. Justin McGregor (1.68), Miguel Ausua (2.01) and Josh McMinn (2.35), the weekend starters for the Golden Eagles, rank 1-2-3 in the conference and in the top 100 nationally.
ROAD READY: Starting April 4 in Norman, the Golden Eagles will travel roughly 3,600 miles for 18 contests during the final weeks of the season. ORU is in the middle of a seven-game stretch on the road ending in Brookings.
MILESTONE WIN: March 26 against South Dakota State, ORU Head Coach Ryan Folmar picked up his 150th career victory after a 6-2 win. His record now stands at 153-103 (.598) in his fifth season leading the Golden Eagles.
FREE BASES: During a 13-inning game March 24, ORU drew a season-high 13 walks against South Dakota State. It was the most in a single game since a 16-walk effort at Little Rock March 24, 2015. The Golden Eagles and Jackrabbits also combined for 26 walks, more than any other game in at least 20 years at ORU.
PUSH THE STREAK: ORU is in search of extending its league record of 16-straight regular season championships and 17 tournament titles after sweeping the league in 2016.
TOP THE SUMMIT AGAIN: For the second time this season, Noah Cummings and Justin McGregor were named Summit League Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. Cummings accounted for 15 runs during a perfect 4-0 week, while McGregor threw ORU's first complete game in 2017 at Omaha.
THIRD TIME THE CHARM: ORU landed both the Summit League Player and Pitcher of the Week for three-straight weeks March 13 with Dylan Snypes and Josh McMinn earning the honors. Snypes had a pair of three-hit efforts, including his team-leading eighth double, while McMinn pitched eight innings in a win over No. 16 DBU allowing just one earned run.
SUMMIT HONORS: Matt Whatley and Justin McGregor were named Summit League Player and Pitcher of the Week in week three. Whatley extended his hitting streak with a pair of home runs at U.S. Bank Stadium and McGregor moved to 2-0 with a mid-week win at Kansas.
WEEKLY WINNERS: ORU swept The Summit League weekly honors in week two as Noah Cummings and Miguel Ausua were named Player and Pitcher of the Week. Cummings hit .500 with two home runs, six RBI and a .938 slugging percentage. Ausua limited Alabama to just one run and six strikeouts in six innings securing the weekend sweep.
TOURNAMENT ACCOLADES: The Golden Eagles had three players named to the 30th Dairy Queen Classic all-tournament team in Minneapolis. Matt Whatley (catcher), Nick Roark (2nd base) and Trevor McCutchin (designated hitter) were all named to the team.
POWER FIVE TILTS: Coach Folmar and the Golden Eagles have not shied away from playing the NCAA's top conferences. Over the last three seasons, ORU has posted a 16-10 mark against the Power Five, going 11-4 when facing a team from the Big 12. ORU is 20-21 against teams in Power Five conferences during his tenure.
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 ball well over the fence in left field for 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 OU pitcher George Frazier and ORU catcher Erik Hansen will provide color commentary.
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.
RETURNING DEPTH: ORU boasts one of its most experienced lineups in recent history welcoming back 20 letter winners. The returners 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. 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.
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.