SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota -- The ORU has won every Summit League tournament since 1998 and, thanks to the arm of Alex Gonzales, have a chance at their 14th consecutive after a 7-1 win Saturday over South Dakota State.
The freshman right-handed pitcher turned in a complete-game performance, giving up just three hits and striking out 10 Jackrabbits in the effort. Gonzalez' (8-5) only earned run of the game was a solo home run in the bottom of the third by Andrew Melton, with ORU already leading by three runs.
Alex Oberle (4-5) came away with a loss for the outing, giving up seven runs, three of which were earned, on 10 hits in a nine-inning performance.
Oral Roberts' first run of the game came on a double-steal in the top of the first, with runners on first and third. Chris Elder Broke for second, allowing Joey Winiecki to break for home and making it 1-0 for the Golden Eagles.
With runners on first and second, Bennett Pickar laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. Spencer Barnett singled through the left side to bring Jared Schlehuber home from third and push the lead to two runs. In the next at-bat, Barnett was caught in a rundown that allowed Bennett to score and give ORU a three-run advantage.
Leading 3-1 in the top of the seventh, Brandon King drew an intentional walk to load the bases, however Cam Schiller hit a sacrifice fly to score Winiecki from third and retake a three-run lead. Schlehuber came to bat next and hit his second home run of the season, giving ORU a 7-1 lead.
The Golden Eagles are one win away from yet another Summit League Championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. They await the winner of North Dakota State and South Dakota State, with the final game taking place at 11 a.m. Sunday.