A ninth-inning rally fell short as the Oral Roberts baseball team dropped its opening game of the NCAA tournament to No. 2 seeded Arkansas, 8-6, at Allie P. Stadium Friday afternoon.
Going into the ninth, Arkansas led the Golden Eagles 8-3 but a three-run home run by senior Anthony Sequeira cut the deficit to just two runs, but ORU was not able to get any closer.
Oral Roberts started the game with a bang, scoring two runs in the opening inning. Matt Whatley and Matt Brandy each picked up singles before Sequeira went for an RBI doubled and Audie Afenir recorded a sacrifice fly to put the Golden Eagles on top, 2-0.
ORU took the lead into the third before Arkansas was able to break through the defense. The teams then traded runs in the fifth but Arkansas went for four runs in the sixth inning to taking their first lead of the game.
Sophomore Louisville Slugger Player of the Year belted a two-run double before scoring on the next play as Tyler Spoon doubled. The inning would be capped off with a just on the grass in right field to add one more run.
Arkansas added on to their lead in the eighth with two runs. After two singles, Clarke Eagan drove a ball to right center field where Logan Noah Cummings made a great attempt on the ball, crashing into the wall. As the ball bounced away, it allowed two runners to score.
Junior right-hander Guillermo Trujillo went for five innings, allowing six hits and four runs to take the loss. Reliever Jackson Lowery picked up the win for the Razorbacks after tossing two innings of one hit baseball.
- Whatley finished his first NCAA tournament game with a 3-for-5 performance, scoring three each time he reached base.
- Sequeira went 3-for-5 with a double and a home run to pick up four RBI in the contest.
- Brandy scored two runs while going 2-for-4 in the game.
- Afenir recorded an RBI and two hits.
Inside the Box Score
- The Golden Eagles move to 34-49 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
- Arkansas went 6-for-8 (.750) with runners in scoring position compared to ORU's 4-of-11 (.364).
- Brandy increased his reached base streak to 17 games with a single in the first.
- Oral Roberts has won 31 of their last 36 games dating back to March 20.
- The loss snaps the Golden Eagles' six-game winning streak.
- ORU has not committed an error in four games.
- After a leadoff single by Whatley followed by a stolen base, Sequeira delivered an RBI double to give ORU the early 1-0 lead.
- Audie Afenir capped off the first inning scoring threat with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Matt Brandy who singled earlier in the frame, adding to the ORU lead, 2-0 in the first.
- Arkansas cut their deficit in half with an RBI single to score Michael Bernal who led off the third with a walk and a stolen base.
- ORU took back a run in the fifth after Whatley singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Derrian James bunted to move him to third before Matt Brandy scored him with an RBI single to right center.
- Arkansas answered the ORU score with one of their own in the bottom of the fifth. Rick Nomura led off the inning with a double out to center. He was able to score two batters later as Michael Bernal singled to cut the ORU lead to 3-2. - Back-to-back singles to start the sixth for Arkansas ended the day for Trujillo. Benintendi double home both runners to give Arkansas its first lead of the day at 4-3.
- Tyler Spoon doubled in the very next at bat to score another run for the Razorbacks, extending their lead to 5-3.
- A bloop RBI single to right field by Nomura ended the scoring for Arkansas in the sixth.
- Arkansas added to its lead in the eighth with a two-run triple by Clark Eagan to make it an 8-3 lead for the Hogs.
- Anthony Sequeira blasted a three-run shot off the scoreboard in right center to pull the Golden Eagles within two at 8-6.
ORU will face-off with either Oklahoma State or St. John's in an elimination game Saturday at noon at Allie P. Stadium.