TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts baseball continues its five-game road swing this weekend as the team travels to Western Illinois for a three-game set with the Leathernecks. First pitch Friday is set for 3 p.m. at Boyer field as sophomore Bryce Howe will make his eighth start of the season. The Golden Eagles will finish the series with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. due to forecasted weather Sunday.
SERIES HISTORY WITH WESTERN ILLINOIS
The Golden Eagles lead the all-time series with Western Illinois, 62-7, and have won 13 straight games dating back to 2011. Oral Roberts outscored the Leathernecks 34-1 in Macomb and 17-3 at J.L. Johnson Stadium during the 2015 campaign.
LOOKING AT THE LEATHERNECKS
Picked to finish last in the Summit League preseason polls, the Leathernecks have started League play with a 6-3 record and sit tied for second early. WIU is 8-18 on the season with wins over Northern Kentucky, North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Omaha.
Chris Tschida (.304) and Conner Currier (.303) lead Western in batting average while Colton Pogue has a team high three home runs. Right-hander Joe Mortillaro sits fourth in the Summit with a team high 34 strikeouts. The Leathernecks have 31 stolen bases, paced by outfielder Steve McShane who has seven which ranks fourth in the league.
For the second time this season, Oral Roberts players earned both Summit League Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week honors. Brent Williams earned the honor for the first time in his career after batting .562 on the week with a .600 on-base percentage and 1.062 slugging percent. In total, the junior recorded six RBI and two home runs while leading ORU to a 4-0 record on the week. Freshman Josh McMinn also earned the League's award for the first time in his career after making two appearances out of the bullpen and pitching five innings of no-hit baseball. He improved to 3-1 on the year after picking up a relief appearance win against the Bison game two of the series.
SEND EM' HOME
Quietly turning into one of the teams' best options with runners on base, Brent Williams has put together a solid two weeks on the diamond. The junior has drove in at least one run in the last 10 games with 19 RBI during the span. He leads ORU with 27 RBI on the season and ranks second in the Summit League. He also leads the Golden Eagles with eight multiple RBI games, including two games in which he recorded three RBI.
The Golden Eagles have been keen to getting out of trouble when opponents put runners on base this season, turning 28 double plays on the year. Against Little Rock, ORU was able to turn nine during the series. As a club, the Golden Eagles rank 24th in the nation in the category.
ORU ranks tops in the Summit League and 21st nationally with 64 doubles headed into the weekend. Against Kansas State, the Golden Eagles went for six doubles, including two by senior Chase Stafford who leads the club with 11 on the season.
ROCK IN THE ROTATION
Friday night will mark the eighth start of the season for second-year right-hander Bryce Howe. Howe leads Oral Roberts with 35 strikeouts on the season, which is fourth best in the Summit League. In his seven starts, Howe has a 2-1 record with four no decisions in 39.1 innings of work.
For the latest information on ORU baseball, follow @ORUBaseball on Twitter or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Golden Eagles Front Row App at ORUAthletics.com/frontrow or in the App Store.