Game One: ORU 6, WIU 0 - Game Two: (8) ORU 11, WIU 1
Records: Oral Roberts (19-12, 9-3) - Western Ill. (9-20, 7-5)
Location: Boyer Stadium - Macomb, Ill.
MACOMB, Ill. - Oral Roberts baseball bounced back to take the series at Western Illinois with a pair of victories Saturday afternoon on strong performances by both Nick Wood and Matt Whatley. With the wins, the Golden Eagles improved to 19-12 and sit atop the Summit League standings at 9-3 at the midway point of the season.
Wood, a redshirt senior from St. John Bosco, California pitched gem in the opening game en route to the Golden Eagles' 6-0 win. The right-hander tossed the first one-hit shutout since Jerry Sullivan did so in 2009 against Centenary. Wood (3-1) faced the minimum number of batters on the day as he went a career high nine innings, allowing just one hit while striking out seven.
After a sluggish start, the Oral Roberts offense got things going in the fifth when the team struck for three runs to go on top. Junior Brent Williams kicked off the inning with a single before Chase Stafford picked up a double to score Williams from second. Nick Rotola, Nick Roark and Whatley each went for hits in the inning to extend the lead.
The Golden Eagles would add insurance runs in both the eighth and ninth inning. Williams collected his fourth home run of the year in the eighth scoring Whatley who led off the frame with a single.
Stafford kicked off the ninth with his second two-bagger of the game and eventually scored on a Whatley double down the left field line.
The Golden Eagle offense carried over its momentum from game one into the nightcap as the team picked up an 11-1 run rule win to clinch the series.
The Leathernecks were able to tally a run in the first after fielding error allowed a double into a triple, but that would be all the scoring the ORU pitching staff would surrender on the day. Sophomore Cale Tims made his first Summit League start of his young career. The Jenks, Oklahoma native went five strong innings, striking out four batters to improve to 3-1 on the season.
The story of the day though was the offensive explosion by the Golden Eagles. Every batter in the lineup tallied base hits. As a team, ORU went for seven extra-base hits as well as a season high three home runs.
Whatley, a sophomore from Claremore, Oklahoma, continued his superb day at the plate, finishing 4-for-4 with a home run, double and a walk. He went for seven consecutive base hits combined and reached base nine consecutive plate appearances through the two games.
The Golden Eagles and WIU were tied at one headed into the sixth, but that was when the offense exploded for 10 runs over the next three innings. Oral Roberts struck for 14 hits, including three home runs.
Whatley connected on his team-leading fifth home run in the sixth to put ORU on top 2-1. Stafford would add insurance in the seventh on a solo shot to left field for his second of the season.
Williams broke open the game in the eighth with a three-run shot for his fifth of the year and second of the day.
Game One Notables
- The Golden Eagles outhit the Leathernecks 12-1 in the opening contest. Matt Whatley led the club offensively with a 3-for-4 performance including two RBI and a run scored.
- Williams, Stafford and Noah Cummings each finished with two hits.
- Nick Wood improved to 3-1 on the season with the win.
- The win was the team's third shutout of the year.
- ORU left seven runners on base.
Game Two Notables
- Whatley finished 4-for-4 with a home run, double and two RBI.
- Cummings and Williams had three hits each. Cummings finished with two RBI while Williams extended his team-leading RBI count to 32 after knocking in three in the game.
- Every starter recorded a base hit for the Golden Eagles.
- Holden Cammack went two innings and struck out two while not allowing a hit.
- RHP Nick Wood tossed the first one-hit shutout since 2009 when Jerry Sullivan one-hit Centenary in game one of the day. The nine inning complete game sets a new career high in innings pitched.
- Matt Whatley reached base nine consecutive at bats Saturday, including seven straight base hits.
- Sam Grellner, Stafford, Whatley and Williams each had home runs on the weekend. As a team, ORU has 22 on the year.
- Fifteen of Stafford 27 base hits are doubles.
- On the day, Oral Roberts outhit Western, 31-6.
- The Golden Eagles pitching staff held the Leatherneck offense at bay Saturday, allowing just one run in 17 innings.
- With the series win, ORU improves to 64-8 against WIU; ORU has never lost a three-game set in the series dating back to 1982 and has won 15 of the last 16 games.
- Head coach Ryan Folmar improves to 8-1 against the Leathernecks in his career.
The Golden Eagles will wrap up their five-game road swing Tuesday in Stillwater against No. 16 Oklahoma State. First pitch from Allie P. Reynolds Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game also will be televised on Fox Sports Plus.
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.