TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts baseball team has a busy mid-week playing in back-to-back days in its final preparation before league play. The Golden Eagles travel to Wichita State for an early 1 p.m. start Tuesday and return home to face Missouri State Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.
THE STORYLINE: The Golden Eagles play mid-week games for the first time this season after their opening three were all postponed for weather. ORU is trying to bounce back from a tough weekend at home where it dropped three to Dallas Baptist.
FACING THE SHOCKERS: Wichita State has lost its last four games, but faced a challenging road slate at Oklahoma State and a three-game set at No. 10 Texas Tech. The Shockers are unbeaten (2-0) at home and led by Luke Ritter (.411) and Jordan Boyer (.404) offensively.
FACING THE BEARS: Missouri State enters a busy week on a five-game skid following a sweep at Arkansas State. John Privitera, Brooks Zimmerman and Logan Geha are all hitting above .263 for the offense that's scoring four runs per game. No MSU pitcher has an ERA below three as the team has a combined ERA of 7.70 through 13 games.
SERIES HISTORY: ORU has a 31-37 overall record against the Shockers as the teams have defended their turf in the home-and-home series the last three years. The Golden Eagles are 31-23 in the all-time series against MSU, but are 1-3 in the last four.
BACK, BACK, BACK, GONE: Through 12 games in 2019, ORU hitters have combined for 15 home runs going deep in eight contests, including multi-home run efforts six times. The team ranks 15th in the nation averaging 1.25 homers per game led by Spencer Henson's four as the junior is averaging one round trip every 11 at bats pacing the league.
UPHILL CLIMB: Starting with its matchup against Ohio State Feb. 24, ORU capped a difficult stretch where seven-consecutive games were versus teams that reached a NCAA Regional in 2018. The Golden Eagles went 3-4 during that period.
SECOND WEEKLY AWARD: Senior Josh McMinn earned the second pitcher of the week award in his ORU career March 4 following a weekend win over Purdue. The righty struck out six and allowed one run over 8.2 innings without issuing a walk and is now one win away from moving into a tie for eighth place in program history for career wins.
FIRST WEEK, FIRST HONOR: ORU outfielder Andrew Pace earned the first Summit League Player of the Week honor of his career in week one. The senior posted a conference-best .615 batting average and a .846 slugging percentage thanks to multi-hit efforts in all three games, including a career-high four hits in game two.
POWER NUMBERS: ORU turned on the offense opening weekend connecting for 35 runs on 41 hits, including 15 that went for extra bases, and 17 walks. The Golden Eagles capped the series with seven doubles and three home runs Sunday against Murray State for a .547 team slugging percentage.
REIGNING CROWN: For just the fourth time in Summit League history, a player finished the season as the Triple Crown winner (league leader in batting average, home runs and RBI) when Spencer Henson accomplished the feat in 2018. The junior hit .364 with 10 round trippers and 58 RBI joining Steve Holm (2000) and Brian Van Kirk (2008) as Golden Eagles to achieve the milestone.
DRAMATIC FACE LIFT: Fans entering the complex at J.L. Johnson Stadium in 2019 immediately will notice a new LED video board located in right-center field. Measuring 33 feet high and 19 feet wide totaling roughly 625 square feet, the high-definition media board is an upgrade to the fan experience making game day at the stadium even more memorable.
SUMMIT LEAGUE HONORS: Spencer Henson and Riley Keizor return to the Golden Eagles lineup after earning First Team All-Summit League honors in 2018, while Josh McMinn is back following a second team selection a year ago. McMinn also earned first team honors as a sophomore in 2017. Keizor was named last year's Summit League Newcomer of the Year in his first season at ORU.
NOT SHYING AWAY: ORU put together one of its most difficult schedules to date for 2019. The Golden Eagles face seven teams that advanced to a NCAA Regional a season ago accounting for nearly a third of its 56-game slate. Five of ORU's first eight opponents advanced to the postseason in 2018 providing an early test.
LOCAL TALENT ON DISPLAY: More than half of the ORU roster in 2019 was raised in the state of Oklahoma as 18 players hail from within 120 miles of campus. The freshman recruiting class is heavy with local talent as four of its eight members joined the Golden Eagles from Green Country.
EXTENDED HOME COOKIN': With 21 of its first 28 games all coming at J.L. Johnson Stadium to open the season, the Golden Eagles have a chance to get off to a great start and build momentum for a challenging finish away from home.
MARCHING HOME: ORU will serve as the host team for 17 of its 20 games during the month of March. With Coach Folmar at the helm, ORU has tallied a 124-50 (.713) record in home games and won 20 or more contests in each of the last four seasons, including a mark of 54-6 (.900) at home against teams from The Summit League.
POWER FIVE TILTS: Coach Folmar and the Golden Eagles have taken on the NCAA's top conferences and are scheduled to battle five again in 2019. Since the start of the 2015 season, ORU has posted a 28-20 mark against the Power Five, going 16-8 when facing a team from the Big 12. ORU is 32-31 against teams in Power Five conferences during his tenure, including a 17-5 mark in home games.
KEEP THE STREAK: The Golden Eagles are making a push for their 19th-straight Summit League regular season and 20th-consecutive tournament titles as members of the conference in 2019. ORU has reached 28 NCAA Regionals in program history, including four in a row, including the 1978 College World Series and the 2006 Super Regionals.
MILESTONE WIN: Head Coach Ryan Folmar picked up the 200th win of his career against South Dakota State April 20, 2018. He is the fifth coach in program history to reach the milestone and did so in just his sixth season leading the team.
SEE US NATIONALLY: Nine ORU baseball home games will be available nationally on ESPN+ in 2019. Scott Higgins will have the live play-by-play call, while George Frazier, Erik Hansen and Scott Slarks will provide color commentary and sideline reporting from J.L. Johnson Stadium.
HOSTING THE BEST: The top four teams in The Summit League's regular season standings will qualify for the 2019 Summit League Baseball Championship hosted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the fourth-straight season. ORU will host the double-elimination event at J.L. Johnson Stadium May 22-25 to determine the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Championships.
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 and #GoldenStandard to stay connected with fans across the nation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
WHERE TO CATCH US: Listen live to every ORU baseball game in 2019 on the ORU Sports Network. All 30 home games also will feature free video and stats with links at www.ORUAthletics.com.
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.