ORU Begins 2018 Baseball Season Friday Hosting Utah

ORU Begins 2018 Baseball Season Friday Hosting Utah

The Basics
Oral Roberts (0-0, 0-0 Summit League) vs. Utah (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (J.L. Johnson Stadium)
Game One: Friday, Feb. 16 – 3 p.m.
Game Two: Saturday, Feb. 17 – 2 p.m.
Game Three: Sunday, Feb. 18 – 11 a.m.
Game Links: Video | Audio | Live Stats

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TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts baseball team kicks off the 2018 campaign Friday with the opening contest of a three-game, weekend series at J.L. Johnson Stadium against Utah from the Pac-12. Live coverage with free video, audio and stats will be available on the ORU Sports Network.


Fans can also follow along all season on social media and with two mobile apps, ORU Golden Eagles Live and ORU Front Row, available on the App Store and Google Play.


THE STORYLINE: The Golden Eagles open the campaign at home for the second-straight season following a NCAA Regional appearance a year ago. ORU won 40 or more games for the 45th time in program history in 2017


FACING THE UTES: ORU and Utah have met twice on the diamond in program history, but both meetings came in a doubleheader back in 1981. The Golden Eagles claimed a 6-5 win in the opening game before the Utes answered by winning by the same score in game two.


OPENING DAY HISTORY: The Golden Eagles are 3-2 in home openers under sixth-year Head Coach Ryan Folmar, having won each of the previous three, and 2-3 in the first game of the year since he took over in 2013. In the all-time history of the program, ORU is 39-10 in home openers, including a 20-game win streak from 1991-2010.  The team also has a 32-17 record in season openers having won 13-consecutive games between 1997 and 2009.


NATIONAL PRESEASON HONORS: A pair of ORU seniors earned coveted spots as Preseason All-Americans by the NCBWA. Miguel Ausua, the reigning Summit League Pitcher of the Year, was named to the first team as he comes back from a 2017 year where he ranked third in the nation with 11 wins. Noah Cummings, last year's Summit League Player of the Year, landed on the second team following a 70-RBI season as a junior. Both players closed the 2017 campaign with All-American honors from the NCBWA and moved up a team heading into 2018.


HOME COOKING: The 2018 schedule is front loaded with home games as ORU plays 11 of its first 12 games at J.L. Johnson Stadium between Feb. 16 and Mar. 7. With Coach Folmar at the helm, the Golden Eagles have tallied a 94-45 (.676) record in home games and won 20 or more in each of the last three seasons.


WELCOME BACK: Nine pitchers are back on campus, including all four starters, after combining for a dismal 2.49 ERA and 78 percent of the team's innings pitched. They also accounted for 88 percent of the win total a year ago. With a 3.06 ERA, ORU's staff ranked sixth in the nation at the end of 2017.


WEEKEND WARRIORS: ORU returns its weekend rotation from 2017 and will enter 2018 with the same trio that made its stretch run. Josh McMinn (9-3, 2.47 ERA) takes over the Friday night start and Miguel Ausua (11-3, 1.65 ERA) moves to Saturday, while Justin McGregor (9-0, 2.99 ERA) will get the ball Sunday.


CALL TO THE BULLPEN: The Golden Eagles have one of the most experienced bullpens as seniors Kyler Stout and Brady Womacks return to familiar spots. Stout closed out 11 games in 2017 with a 1.62 ERA, while Womacks recorded 14 saves in 2016 posting a 1.22 ERA. Both players have been named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year list in their career.


TOUGH SLATE: ORU has another challenging schedule in 2018 facing four teams that advanced to a NCAA Regional totaling 10 of its 55 games. The slate also features matchups with three Power Five conferences, including the Pac 12, Big 12 and Big 10.


DRAFT DEPARTURES: ORU must replace three players that left when hearing their name in the draft as Matt Whatley, Dylan Snypes and Bryce Howe enter professional careers in 2018. The Golden Eagles also lost offensive cornerstones Brent Williams, Michael Hungate and Sam Grellner to graduation.


ESPN'S TOP PLAYS: In a span of two months last season, ORU recorded three, top 10 plays on ESPN's Sportscenter, more than any other collegiate baseball team in America. Nick Roark (2/28), Cal Hernandez (3/21) and Noah Cummings (4/18) all represented the Golden Eagles on the nationally-televised segment showcasing superb defense.


CLEAN SWEEP: The Golden Eagles cleaned up in the 2017 Summit League postseason awards winning all four major honors with Noah Cummings (Player of the Year), Miguel Ausua (Pitcher of the Year), Dylan Snypes (Newcomer of the Year) and Ryan Folmar (Coach of the Year). ORU also had a program-record 10 first-team all-league selections and three second-team all-league honorees.


STREAK CONTINUES: The Golden Eagles won their 17th-straight regular season title in The Summit League in 2017. ORU went on to win three-consecutive games in the conference tournament, highlighted by Ausua's complete-game shutout in the championship to secure its 18th title in a row.


TOP THE SUMMIT: After earning The Summit League's automatic bid, ORU made its 27th all-time appearance in the NCAA Regionals. The Golden Eagles eliminated Oklahoma State in game two giving Coach Folmar his first-career NCAA victory, before falling to host Arkansas.


POWER FIVE TILTS: Coach Folmar and the Golden Eagles have not shied away from playing the NCAA's top conferences. Over the last three seasons, ORU has posted a 19-14 mark against the Power Five, going 14-6 when facing a team from the Big 12. ORU is 23-25 against teams in Power Five conferences during his tenure, including a 9-3 mark in home games.


SEE US NATIONALLY: Nine ORU baseball home games will be available nationally on ESPN3. Scott Higgins will have the live play-by-play call, while former OU pitcher George Frazier and ORU catcher Erik Hansen 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 2018 Summit League Baseball Championship hosted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the third-straight season. ORU will host the double-elimination event at J.L. Johnson Stadium May 23-26.


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 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 2018 with Adam Hildebrandt 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 FacebookTwitter 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.