TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts baseball team tries to complete a perfect homestand to start the 2017 season hosting Missouri State in its first mid-week test Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
The game will help kick off Remember the Titans week on campus with a "Blue Out", historical jerseys raffled off throughout the afternoon and Titans shirts thrown to the crowd.
THE STORYLINE: Fresh off a sweep of Little Rock during opening weekend at J.L. Johnson Stadium, the Golden Eagles are right back to work hosting Missouri State Tuesday afternoon. It will be the final contest of a four-game homestand to open the 2017 campaign.
FACING THE BEARS: ORU and Missouri State have met 51 times on the diamond with the Golden Eagles holding a 30-21 advantage dating back to the first meeting in 1979. The Bears shutout ORU in the only meeting last season, a 5-0 win in Springfield, Missouri. The last 10 matchups have been an even split with both sides winning five times.
OPENING DAY TURNAROUND: After dropping three of their last four games on opening day under the direction of Head Coach Ryan Folmar, the Golden Eagles cruised to a 10-4 victory in 2017. A six-run fourth inning broke open the contest giving ORU its 32nd all-time win in season openers.
WALKING OFF: For the first time since April 7, 2009, an ORU hitter provided late-inning fireworks hitting a walk-off home run. In the bottom of the 13th inning Saturday, senior Michael Hungate drove a hanging breaking ball well over the fence in left field giving the fans a chance to celebrate a 4-3 victory.
SEE US NATIONALLY: Thirteen ORU baseball games will be available nationally on ESPN3 with nine home games televised. Al Jerkens will have the live play-by-play call, while former ORU pitchers, George Frazier and Jeremy Hefner will provide color commentary. Road games at Alabama, Feb. 24-26, also will be streamed live via the SEC Network+ and ESPN3 as will the Golden Eagles' game Feb. 28 at Kansas.
PUSH THE STREAK: Oral Roberts is in search of extending its league record of 16-straight regular season championships and 17 tournament titles after sweeping the league in 2016.
SUMMIT LEAGUE POLL: The Golden Eagles were tabbed to repeat as Summit League baseball champions in a poll of the league's head coaches receiving all five possible first-place votes.
RETURNING SUMMIT HONOREE: Senior Brent Williams is the lone major award winner returning from The Summit League. Williams captured Newcomer of the Year honors in his first year at first base hitting .297 with 55 RBI.
WELCOME BACK ALL-LEAGUERS: After earning 11 total all-league honors a year ago, ORU first teamers Matt Whatley (.363, 42 R), Noah Cummings (.364, 18 2B) and Brady Womacks (1.22 ERA, 14 SV) are welcomed back to the roster in 2017. Fellow returners Nick Rotola (.326, 32 BB), Bryce Howe (6-5, 84 K) and Cale Tims (6-2, 3.71 ERA) were all named to the All-Summit League Second Team in 2016.
PRESEASON ACCOLADES: Senior Brady Womacks was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason All-America Third Team as well as landing on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List heading into 2017. The Pevely, Missouri, native led the Golden Eagles with 29 appearances out of the bullpen a season ago totaling 14 saves and a 2-2 record with a 1.22 earned run average. His 14 saves ranked second in ORU single-season history. Womacks allowed a run in just four outings in 2016 and posted 18-consecutive scoreless appearances. The right hander also struck out 29 batters in 37 innings of work.
WHATLEY WATCH: Junior Matt Whatley was named one of the 10 best catching prospects for the 2017 MLB Draft by HERO Sports Baseball. The Claremore, Oklahoma, native was a 2016 ABCA/Rawlings All-Midwest Region Second Team selection hitting .363 for the Golden Eagles. He also was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List last season holding opponents to 31 stolen bases and gunning down 14 potential base stealers.
RETURNING DEPTH: ORU boasts one of its most experienced lineups in recent history welcoming back 20 letter winners, including six starters in the field and three starting pitchers. Those players back in the navy and gold accounted for more than 70 percent of the run and hit total from 2016, including all but seven of the team's home runs. The pitching staff, behind 12 pitchers back on the roster, returns its winning pitcher from 30 of its 38 victories.
DAUNTING SCHEDULE: ORU again faces a daunting schedule in 2017 taking on three NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago, including two games against Oklahoma State, a College World Series participant. In total, the schedule features seven teams that ended the 2016 campaign ranked in the nation's top 85 by RPI.
POWER FIVE TILTS: Coach Folmar and the Golden Eagles have not shied away from playing some of the region's best teams from the top conferences. Over the last two seasons, ORU has posted an 11-4 mark against the Power Five, going 9-2 when facing a team from the Big 12. That includes a home-and-home sweep of Oklahoma State and wins over the SEC's Auburn and Mississippi State in 2016. ORU is an even 15-15 against teams in Power Five conferences during the tenure of Coach Folmar.
HOSTING THE BEST: The top four teams in the league's regular-season standings will qualify for The Summit League Baseball Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As defending champions, ORU is set to host the four-team event at J.L. Johnson Stadium from May 24-27.
EXTENDED HOMESTAND: An 11-game homestand from March 10-26 gives the Golden Eagles a chance to show off recent renovations to the infield, bullpens and graphics behind home plate. ORU starts by hosting 2016 NCAA Regional participant Dallas Baptist for a three-game set and caps the stretch against Summit League foe South Dakota State.
STAYING CONNECTED: Follow the Golden Eagles all season long across social media platforms and two mobile apps (ORU Golden Eagles Live and ORU Front Row) available on Google Play and the App State. Use the hashtag #ORUBase to stay connected with fans across the nation.
For the latest information on ORU Baseball, follow the Golden Eagles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading two mobile apps, ORU Golden Eagles Live and ORU Front Row, available on the App Store and Google Play.