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Golden Eagles Continue Summit League Play at Fort Wayne

Golden Eagles Continue Summit League Play at Fort Wayne

The Basics
Oral Roberts (23-12, 12-3) at IPFW (17-19, 4-11)
Location: Fort Wayne, Ind. | Mastodon Stadium
When: April 23-24 | 11 am., 2 p.m., 11 a.m. CT 
Game Links: Live Stats | Audio
Game Notes: ORU | IPFW

TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts baseball will begin a seven-game road swing as the team continues Summit League play at Fort Wayne this weekend. The three-game series is set to kick off on Saturday after inclement weather postponed Friday's action. The teams will play a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mastodon Field before wrapping up the series Sunday at 11 a.m.

Geoff Haxton will have the radio call on AM 1550 in the Tulsa area and around the world for free through Fans can also follow along via Twitter @ORUBaseball for live updates throughout the game. 

Oral Roberts leads the all-time series with the Mastodons 26-4 and are winners of nine of the last ten games in the series. Oral Roberts and Fort Wayne met earlier this season with the Golden Eagles taking two-of-three but dropping the series opener at J.L. Johnson Stadium, 6-3. It marked the first win in Tulsa for IPFW since 2011. ORU clinched the series on a Saturday doubleheader, defeating IPFW, 5-2, in the opener before a 15-0 run rule in the nightcap. ORU comes into the matchup with a 13-2 advantage when playing in Indiana after sweeping the Dons' during the 2015 campaign.

Winners of five straight games, including a three-game sweep of conference foe Western Illinois, IPFW boasts a record of 18-19 overall and 4-11 in Summit League action. The Dons' have nonconference wins over Alabama A&M, Little Rock, UT Martin, Ohio, Chicago State and Butler. Leading the charge offensively for the Mastodons is outfielder Evan VanSumeren who sits atop the team with a .306 batting average off 45 base hits. Redshirt senior Shane Trevino leads the team and sits fifth in the conference with 25 RBI while Greg Kaiser leads the club with nine home runs while Trevino is just behind with eight. On the mound, IFPW's Evan Miller has put up a 4-3 record and is third in the league with 48 strikeouts.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a perfect 4-0 week after defeating No. 27 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, 4-0, before sweeping Omaha over the weekend for the teams sixth straight win. Oral Roberts boast a 23-12 overall record and a 12-3 mark in League play. Sophomore Noah Cummings paces ORU with a .352 batting average and a .475 slugging percent. Catcher Matt Whatley sits just behind with a .348 average off 47 hits, including a team-high six homers. Righty Nick Wood has a team-best 1.74 ERA and a 4-1 record on the season with wins over Little Rock, IPFW, Western Illinois and Omaha. As a club, the Golden Eagles are hitting .308 which is good for 24th nationally.

For the third consecutive week, Oral Roberts baseball has been represented in the Summit League weekly awards. Freshman Josh McMinn earned his second Summit League pitching accolade of the season after picking up two wins last week, including a win at No. 27 Oklahoma State last Tuesday. In total, the Oklahoma City native allowed only two hits over seven innings while striking out five on the week.

Quietly turning into one of the teams' best options with runners on base, Brent Williams has put together a solid three weeks on the diamond. The junior has driven in 13 runs in the last 10 games, including two three-RBI games. He leads the Golden Eagles with 10 multiple RBI games this season.

The Golden Eagles have been keen to getting out of trouble when opponents put runners on base this season, turning 32 double plays on the year. Against Little Rock, ORU was able to turn nine during the series. As a club, the Golden Eagles rank 48th in the nation in the category.

ORU ranks tops in the Summit League and 13 nationally with 83 doubles headed into Tuesday's game with the Cowboys. Against Kansas State, the Golden Eagles went for six doubles, including two by senior Chase Stafford who leads the club with 15 on the season. Stafford ranks 17th in the nation in the category and of his 30 base hits, 15 are two-baggers.

Junior transfer Brady Womacks has cemented himself as the team's go-to guy when things get tough. The right-hander has made a team-high 18 appearances out of the bullpen recorded seven saves which is tops in the Summit League and 31st nationally. In total, Womacks has allowed just one earned run in 23.2 innings and boasts a 0.38 ERA.

Right-hander Nick Wood has allowed just eight earned runs in 41.1 innings of work this season. He sits at the top of the club with a 1.74 ERA which ranks 44th in the country. In total, Wood has allowed only five earned runs in his last 30 innings pitched, including a nine inning one-hitter at Western Illinois.

ORU has played some of its best baseball this season in front of the home crowd. In total, ORU is 15-3 with eight straight wins at J.L. Johnson Stadium. The team is hitting .332 at home compared to .293 on the road.

Three positions on the field have been held in by the same player for all 35 games this season. Nick Rotola (CF), Nick Roark (2B) and Trevin Sonnier (SS) have each made every start for the Golden Eagles at their respective positions. Rotola has been a stronghold in center field with 77 putouts while Sonnier (103) and Roark (83) stand at the top of the team in fielding assists. One other player in Matt Whatley has made starts in every game for the Golden Eagles. Whatley has started 32 games behind the plate while serving as the teams' designated hitter three times.

Friday night marked the 10th start of the season for second-year right-hander Bryce Howe. Howe leads Oral Roberts with 48 strikeouts on the season, which is second-best in the Summit League. In his nine starts, Howe has a 2-2 record with five no decisions in 50.1 innings of work.

The Golden Eagles fared especially well against the BIG 12 during the 2015 season, finishing the year 5-1 against the power conference after defeating Oklahoma, No. 12 Texas Tech and No. 10 Oklahoma State on the road, ORU also took down the Cowboys and Red Raiders at J.L. Johnson Stadium. Oral Roberts has won five of the last six meetings with the Cowboys in Stillwater or at neutral sites. ORU has four wins over Power Five conference members this season, including wins at Auburn, Mississippi State, Kansas State as well as a home victory over the Sooners. This season, ORU is 3-0 against BIG 12 competition with wins over Oklahoma, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. The Golden Eagles also picked up road wins over Auburn and Mississippi State.

Oral Roberts Head Coach Ryan Folmar eclipsed the 100-win mark over the in March with a 14-5 victory over Little Rock. He became the sixth coach in program history to reach 100-wins.

Sophomore catcher Matt Whatley has been named to the 2016 Johnny Bench Award Watch List as announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. Whatley was one of 74 catchers named to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award which is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher. Whatley was the only catcher from the Summit League to be named to the prestigious list. The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists on May 18 followed by the announcement of the three finalists on June 6. The Johnny Bench Award will be presented on June 30 in Wichita, Kansas at the 19th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet. The award honors Cincinnati Red Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, who was not only one of the greatest catchers of all time but revolutionized the position. He was the first catcher to use a protective helmet in the field, popularized catching one-handed and kept his throwing hand behind his back.

Oral Roberts has been tabbed to repeat as Summit League baseball champions in a poll of the league's head coaches. The Golden Eagles are looking to extend on their record 15 regular season titles and 16 tournament championships in 2016. ORU received all five of its possible first-place votes. Fort Wayne, last season's tournament runner-up, was picked second, its highest preseason ranking in program history. South Dakota State was slotted third with the final first-place tally, followed by Omaha, North Dakota State and Western Illinois. The Golden Eagles finished the 2015 season with a 41-16 overall mark and 25-5 in The Summit League, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the 25th time in program history.

Five Golden Eagles were selected in the MLB First Year Player Draft last spring. Anthony Sequeira was drafted in the 23rd round (Pick: 684) by the Phillies; Audie Afenir was taken by the Yankees in the 25th round (Pick: 753); Xavier Altamirano went in the 27th round (Pick: 818) to the Athletics; Guillermo Trujillo went to the Orioles in the 35th round (Pick: 1063) while senior Jacob McDavid was selected with the final pick of the draft (Pick: 1215) by the Angels. This 2015 class was the largest since 2009 when six Golden Eagles were taken.

The 2015 squad topped the 30-win plateau for the second straight year. The two-straight 30-win seasons were accompanied for the first time in as many years with a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

For the latest information on ORU baseball, follow @ORUBaseball on Twitter or go to Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Golden Eagles Front Row App at or in the App Store.