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Baseball Returns to Tulsa to Host Western Illinois in Final Home Series

Baseball Returns to Tulsa to Host Western Illinois in Final Home Series

The Basics
Oral Roberts (26-16, 15-6) vs Western Illinois (13-27, 10-11)
Location: Tulsa, Okla. | J.L. Johnson Stadium
Game Links: Live Stats | VideoAudio
Notes: ORU | WIU

TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts baseball returns to J.L. Johnson Stadium for the first time in seven game as they welcome Summit League foe Western Illinois for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. The teams will continue play on Saturday at 2 p.m. before wrapping up the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Following Sunday's game, the Golden Eagles will honor the teams' six seniors. 

Geoff Haxton will have the radio call on AM 1550 in the Tulsa area and around the world for free through Fans can also follow along via Twitter @ORUBaseball for live updates throughout the game. 

The Golden Eagles lead the all-time series with Western Illinois, 64-8, and have won nine of the last ten meetings. The Golden Eagles took the series from the Leathernecks in Macomb earlier this year, 2-1, but dropped the openers by a score of 9-4. ORU got things going to close out the final two games, allowing just one run to WIU in the doubleheader sweep. Oral Roberts outscored the Leathernecks 34-1 in Macomb and 17-3 at J.L. Johnson Stadium during the 2015 campaign.

Picked to finish last in the Summit League preseason polls, the Leathernecks have started League play with a 10-11 record and sit in fourth place in the League standings with two weeks left in the regular season. WIU is 13-27 on the season with wins over Northern Kentucky, North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Omaha. Western comes into the contest batting .241 as a team and a team ERA of 5.75, both marks rank last in the League.

The Golden Eagles are led by sophomores Noah Cummings and Matt Whatley. The duo are both tops on the team in hitting with Cummings hitting at a clip of .347 and Whatley just behind at .345. Whatley, a Claremore, Oklahoma native, has 19 extra-base hits on the season including nine doubles, three triples and seven home runs. He also sits atop the squad with a .564 slugging percentage. Brent Williams leads the team with 41 RBI and seven home runs. The junior has 50 base hits for a .305 average.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a 12-3 loss at the hands of in-state rival Oklahoma. The Sooners took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Matt Whatley came through with a single up the middle to end the bid. The win for the Sooners marked the first win over ORU in four attempts. The Golden Eagles took a game in Tulsa over OU, 5-0 earlier in the year.

Junior Brent Williams has quietly led the Golden Eagles with 41 RBI this season. The Colorado Springs, Colorado native has drove in 12 RBI in the last 10 game and leads the team with 11 multiple RBI games. He has put together four three-RBI performances this season, with the last coming during the series finale at IPFW.

Junior transfer Brady Womacks has cemented himself as the team's go-to guy when things get tough. The right-hander has made a team-high 21 appearances out of the bullpen recorded eight saves which is tops in the Summit League and 39th nationally. With his eight saves on the season, he has cemented himself in the ORU record book in single-season saves, tied for ninth with Jeff Eddings.

The Golden Eagles have been keen to getting out of trouble when opponents put runners on base this season, turning 37 double plays on the year. Against Little Rock, ORU was able to turn nine during the series. As a club, the Golden Eagles rank 73rd in the nation in the category.

ORU ranks tops in the Summit League and 27th nationally with 95 doubles. Against Kansas State, the Golden Eagles went for six doubles, including two by senior Chase Stafford who leads the club with 16 on the season. Stafford ranks 34th in the nation in the category and of his 31 base hits, 16 are two-baggers.

ORU has played some of its best baseball this season in front of the home crowd. In total, ORU is 15-3 with eight straight wins at J.L. Johnson Stadium. The team is hitting .332 at home compared to .288 on the road.

Sophomore catcher Matt Whatley has been named to the 2016 Johnny Bench Award Watch List as announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. Whatley was one of 74 catchers named to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award which is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher. Whatley was the only catcher from the Summit League to be named to the prestigious list. The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists on May 18 followed by the announcement of the three finalists on June 6. The Johnny Bench Award will be presented on June 30 in Wichita, Kansas at the 19th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet. The award honors Cincinnati Red Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, who was not only one of the greatest catchers of all time but revolutionized the position. He was the first catcher to use a protective helmet in the field, popularized catching one-handed and kept his throwing hand behind his back.

Redshirt senior Trevin Sonnier has been named to the 2016 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Watch List as announced by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame on Thursday. The Brooks Wallace Award, sponsored by Mizuno, honors the top college shortstop in the nation and will be presented as a part of the Night of Champions, an annual celebration that will take place in Lubbock, Texas on July 2. The Nederland, Texas native is currently among the Summit League leaders in runs scored (31), hits (43) and stolen bases (8) while hitting .312 with a .391 on-base percentage. He has committed just seven errors in 161 fielding chances this season and has been involved in 22 double plays in 38 games.

Oral Roberts junior Brady Womacks was one of 40 players named to the Stopper of the Year Award Midseason Watch List, announced by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. A product of Pevely, Missouri, Womacks is 2-1 with seven saves and a 0.36 ERA in 19 appearances. The right-hander has allowed just 20 hits in 24.2 innings of work, while fanning 20 batters. Womacks' eight saves place him atop the Summit League and in a tie for ninth place on the Golden Eagles' single-season charts.

Oral Roberts Head Coach Ryan Folmar eclipsed the 100-win mark over the in March with a 14-5 victory over Little Rock. He became the sixth coach in program history to reach 100-wins.

The 2015 squad topped the 30-win plateau for the second straight year. The two-straight 30-win seasons were accompanied for the first time in as many years with a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

For the latest information on ORU baseball, follow @ORUBaseball on Twitter or go to Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Golden Eagles Front Row App at or in the App Store.