ORU Captures 14th Straight Summit League Title

Tuesday, May 31st 2011, 4:25 pm
By: News On 6


SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota -- The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles battled through extra innings to beat South Dakota State University 5-4 and claim the school's 14th straight Summit League Championship title.

It took 11 innings to decide the winner of Sunday's game, one that undoubtedly had fans on the edge of their seats.

Both teams would get the scoring started in the second frame. For South Dakota State, Eric Cain would knock a single to shortstop that scored Andrew Phelan and put the Jackrabbits on top 1-0.

The Golden Eagles got on the board in the bottom of the inning. With one out and two runners on base Bennett Pickar placed a single down the left field line to score Jared Schlehuber.

In the third, South Dakota added another run, and the bottom of the frame saw ORU respond and eventually take the lead.

Nick Baligod started things off with a double to right center and one batter later Chris Elder doubled to right field to bring Baligod home.

Later in the inning with one out, Schiller sent a fly ball into left that retired him, but not before Elder scored to put ORU up 3-2.

In the bottom of the seventh Baligod tacked on another run for ORU with a home run to right field to give the Golden Eagles a 4-2 advantage.

ORU let things slip in the eighth and from there on out the game got tight.

Closer Matt Rush relieved Joe Spring, who limited the Jacks to one unearned run and three hits in five innings. Rush then walked the next two batters giving up an unearned run that made it 4-3.

SDSU tied the ballgame when Pickar, the catcher, mishandled a pitch that resulted in a passed ball that allowed Phelan to score the tying run.

Extra innings came and even though SDSU threatened in the top of the 11th with the loaded the bases and no outs, pitcher Dan Martony entered the game and shutdown the Jackrabbits.

Bottom of the 11th, Brett Sowers took the plate and bolted a ball to the right field wall that got away from the right fielder for the leadoff double.

Pickar came up next for ORU and advanced Sowers to third on a sacrifice bunt.

Spencer Barnett was up next for the Golden Eagles and with a 1-2 count he ripped a chopper up the middle for the walk off single to win the game 5-4.

ORU finished with 11 hits, with Baligod's 3-for-5 effort leading the way. No other Golden Eagle had more than one hit.

The win gives the Golden Eagles (36-20) an automatic berth into next weekend's NCAA Regionals and it also extends their tournament championship streak to 14 straight, the second longest in collegiate baseball history.

When asked about the game and moving on to regionals, Sowers, who ran home for the game winning run said:"I know that a lot of people don't know who ORU is…and I like those opportunities because it's our chance to say hey we are ORU, we're good and we're going to come to play."

The pairings and locations of first round play will be announced by the NCAA Monday morning at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN.