Score: No. 3 Oral Roberts 5 – No. 2 South Dakota State 2
Records: ORU (27-24) – SDSU (27-21)
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (J.L. Johnson Stadium)
TULSA, Okla. – Josh McMinn struck out 10 over eight innings and Spencer Henson reached base five times as the Oral Roberts baseball team tallied a 5-2 win over South Dakota State in its opening game of the 2019 Summit League Baseball Championship Thursday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
The third-seeded Golden Eagles took down the No. 2 Jackrabbits behind one of McMinn's best performances of the season. He gave up a two-run, wind-aided home run in the bottom of the second and held SDSU off the scoreboard his last six innings allowing the offense to score the final five runs of the game.
ORU hit solo home runs in the third and fourth innings to even the score at 2-2 and Henson gave a one-run advantage launching his second long ball and third hit of the day in the fifth. With runners on the corners in the seventh, the Jackrabbits elected to intentionally walk Henson and load the bases. Riley Keizor made them pay drawing a RBI walk pushing the margin to 4-2.
Quote of the Day
"Josh was good and he was really competitive, which I thought was the difference. After the home run he was getting after it. He was driving the ball and I'm proud of the way he hung in there and led the way for our pitching staff today." - Head Coach Ryan Folmar
McMinn recorded his biggest out of the day in the fourth after SDSU loaded the bases on a walk to put the go-ahead run 90 feet from home in a 2-2 ballgame. He got the Jackrabbits lead-off man Nick Smith to swing through a pitch stranding three runners on base to give the Golden Eagles momentum into the top of the fifth where Henson provided the eventual winning home run.
Inside the Box Score
- SDSU failed to retire Henson in the contest as the recently crowned Summit League Player of the Year was a perfect 3-for-3 hitting two solo home runs and drew two intentional walks. He increased his league-leading home run total to 19 taking over sole possession of eighth in ORU single-season history. The junior also recorded the final out on the mound forcing a ground ball as SDSU had the tying run at the plate earning his seventh save of 2019.
- Isaac Coffey crushed the first pitch of the top of the fourth inning to left center for his sixth home run of the year. His swing tied the game 2-2.
- Andrew Pace added an insurance run in the seventh sending a sacrifice fly into left scoring Hunter Wilson for a 5-2 lead. The senior helped his pitcher's cause playing phenomenal defense, including a pair of diving catches in left field. ORU also turned inning-ending double plays in the second and fifth frames and did not commit an error.
- McMinn was electric in the middle frames and closed the day striking out 10, reaching double figures for the second time this season. The senior tossed eight innings allowing just two runs on seven hits picking up his 28th all-time win to tie Mike Moore (1979-81) for seventh in program history.
ORU moved into the winner's bracket of The Summit League Championship and will face Omaha Friday morning at 11 a.m. Check the ORU Sports Network at www.ORUAthletics.com for live video and stats.
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