Golden Eagles score early in win over Cowboys

ORU Sports
Scott Slarks, Director of Media Relations

TULSA – In its final regular season home game, the Oral Roberts baseball team scored early and often before having to hold off a surging Oklahoma State in a wild, 11-7 victory Tuesday night at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

The Golden Eagles tagged the Cowboys for nine runs in the first two innings behind three home runs in the driving winds of south Tulsa. Matt Whatley and Brent Williams homered in a three-run first inning after OSU struck for a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first. Six runs in the second powered ORU to a 9-1 advantage, but the visitors hit a grand slam in the third to make things interesting and cut the margin to 10-7 in the fourth.

Harrison Smith picked up the first win of his collegiate career throwing two shutout innings in relief as the Golden Eagles’ bullpen took command of the evening. Over the final five innings, four ORU pitchers limited OSU to just one hit closing out the non-conference victory.

“I think Harrison Smith was the difference,” head coach Ryan Folmar said. “I thought he came into the game and kind of solidified it on the mound. It’s good to see our bullpen, in crisis mode there after the fourth inning, just come in and shut it down.”

Michael Hungate started an exciting second inning for the Golden Eagles hitting a single and quickly stole second base. Trevor McCutchin walked and Sam Grellner loaded the bases by beating the throw following a perfect bunt. Nick Roark delivered a two-run single back up the middle before Cal Hernandez dropped a squeeze bunt for a RBI single. A sacrifice fly from Whatley pushed another run across before Noah Cummings launched a hanging pitch over the fence in left giving ORU a commanding 9-1 lead.

Smith and the ORU bullpen shut down the Cowboys over the final 5.1 innings giving up only two hits and one run. Grant Glaze grinded through an inning before Smith entered and had a career-long outing throwing two shutout innings. McCutchin and Kyler Stout allowed just one base runner over the final 2.1 frames to secure the season-series victory over the in-state rival.

 The first five hitters in the Golden Eagles’ lineup combined for all 10 RBI, led by three from Whatley. Noah Cummings closed the day going 3-for-5 with two RBI on his 13th home run pushing his Summit League-leading total to 64, which ranks sixth in the country.
 The bottom two batters for ORU each posted two hits and two runs scored as McCutchin and Grellner provided timely offense. In total, eight different Golden Eagles scored at least one run and the eight combined for 13 hits.
 The six-run second inning was the seventh time this season ORU has scored six or more times in a single inning.
 Starting pitcher Taylor Varnell lasted 3.2 innings in just his third start of the year and allowed four earned runs, while striking out a career-best seven.

The Golden Eagles now have defeated OSU eight-straight times at J.L. Johnson Stadium dating back to 1995 and evened the all-time series 35-35. Under Coach Folmar’s guidance, ORU improved to 9-3 when facing a team from a power five conference and 13-6 against the Big 12 in the last three seasons.

ORU plays its final Summit League series of the regular season May 18-20 at Western Illinois. The three-game set starts Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. with live audio coverage on the ORU Sports Network and 99.9 FM The Sports Animal.