Score: Utah 3 – Oral Roberts 4
Records: Utah (0-1) – ORU (1-0)
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (J.L. Johnson Stadium)
TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts baseball team broke a late tie as its seniors stepped up and delivered in a 4-3 win over Utah to open the 2018 season Friday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
Nick Roark's double off the left field wall started a two-out rally for the Golden Eagles in the bottom of the eighth to break a 3-3 ballgame. Noah Cummings, the reigning Summit League Player of the Year, followed his fellow team captain and ripped a single up the middle bringing home the winning run. Kyler Stout closed out his first save of the year pitching a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts.
ORU got on the board quickly in the second inning as Riley Keizor drew a one-out walk and Spencer Henson crushed the first pitch he saw this season well over the trees in left field for a 2-0 advantage. Nick Rotola led the bottom of the third with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch before Cal Hernandez stretched the Golden Eagles' lead to 3-0 with a sacrifice fly.
Quote of the Game
"Grant (Townsend) came in during a really tough spot and did a really good job. He came in and shut the door, which gave us a change. Then we got a couple of big swings from some veteran guys than need to produce. It was kind of how you draw it up to start the year." – Head Coach Ryan Folmar
The ORU offense slowed after a quick start as the game was tied 3-3 heading into the eighth inning. After Utah retired the first two batters of the frame, Roark slapped a stand-up double off the wall in left field and Cummings delivered the game-winning, RBI single. The senior sent the first pitch of his at-bat back up the middle to give the Golden Eagles the edge in a close contest.
Inside the Box Score
- Keizor made a perfect debut for ORU at the plate going 1-for-1 with a single in the fourth inning. The redshirt sophomore showed off his plate discipline recording three walks and a run scored.
- Henson wasted no time in proving he was ready to make an impact offensively as he blasted his first collegiate home run in the second inning. In only his seventh career start in the field, he tallied his first extra-base hit and finished with two RBI and also drew a walk.
- Rotola was a welcomed sight on the field for ORU after suffering a season-ending injury a year ago. The Wichita, Kansas, native went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and a run scored in the third and chased down five fly balls roaming center field.
- ORU starting pitcher Josh McMinn, a 36th-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins, surrendered just one hit in his first four innings of scoreless work and at one point, retired eight straight Utah hitters. He closed the opening-day start allowing two runs, one earned, in five innings with three strikeouts and four hits.
- The bullpen came through strong down the stretch as newcomers Colton Larkins and Grant Townsend pitched three innings. Townsend allowed only one base runner of the eight batters faced and struck out three, while Stout, recently named to the top 30 of all collegiate relievers, fanned two of three hitters he faced as he looked in mid-season form.
ORU and Utah continue the season-opening weekend with game two scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. as temperatures are expected to climb for the matinee. Catch all the action live on the ORU Sports Network with video, audio and stats.
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