Score: Fort Wayne 4 – Oral Roberts 12
Records: FW (6-22, 2-11 Summit League) – ORU (18-13, 9-4 Summit League)
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (J.L. Johnson Stadium)
TULSA, Okla. – An eight-run eighth inning powered the Oral Roberts baseball team to a 12-4 victory over Fort Wayne Friday night at J.L. Johnson Stadium in the opening game of a Summit League series.
The Golden Eagles erased an early, 4-0 deficit to the Mastodons by scoring four times in the bottom of the fourth before breaking the game open in the eighth. Andrew Pace had two of the team's eight hits in the inning on the way to 12-unanswered runs claiming the home win.
ORU had opportunities all evening, but stranded nine runners in the first six frames, until coming up clutch down the stretch to finish with a season-high 18 hits.
Quote of the Day
"Josh made a couple mistakes early, but I thought when he settled in, he was pretty sharp. I think that's a big moment because he could have folded it up, but he pushed through it and I thought that was big for him. Then I thought the key swing came from Harrison Smith. He made a big swing in a big moment and kind of turned the momentum a little bit and that was critical in us getting back in the game." – Head Coach Ryan Folmar
Smith turned the tide for the Golden Eagles coming through with a spectacular diving catch in left field as the shortstop ranged back and laid out for the grab in the top of the fourth. ORU carried that momentum into the bottom half of the frame and erased the Mastodons' four-run advantage by plating four runs. Nick Rotola sent a RBI double to left center and Smith followed by delivering a two-run double in right center closing the gap to 4-3. Cal Hernandez ripped a single back up the middle that brought Smith home from second and evened the game.
Inside the Box Score
- Smith had a career day for the Golden Eagles totaling four RBI on a 2-for-5 effort. The Bakersfield, California, native tied his career best by registering two hits and two runs scored.
- Rotola matched a career high with four hits on the day as the senior went 4-for-5 at the plate with one run and one RBI.
- Andrew Pace earned another start in left field and gave the Golden Eagles much-needed offense at the bottom of the lineup. The junior went 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and a RBI.
- ORU starting pitcher Josh McMinn surrendered four runs on five hits across 6.1 innings with four strikeouts. Lead-off walks in the third and fourth innings came around to score, but the junior continued to battle and retired the next nine batters.
- Grant Townsend (4-0) tied the Summit League lead with his fourth win of the season in relief throwing the final 2.2 innings. He did not give up a run and give the Golden Eagles a chance offensively as he struck out four Fort Wayne hitters and gave up only one hit.
ORU and Fort Wayne continue the weekend series Saturday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium with game two set for 2 p.m. Follow along on the ORU Sports Network with live video, audio and stats.
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