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Baseball Heads to Fargo for Three-Game Series with North Dakota State

Baseball Heads to Fargo for Three-Game Series with North Dakota State

The Basics
Oral Roberts (25-13, 14-4) at North Dakota State (21-18, 7-11)
Where: Fargo, N.D. | Newman Outdoor Stadium
When: April 29 - May 1 | 6:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1 p.m. 
Links: Live Stats | VideoAudio
Notes: ORU | NDSU

TULSA, Okla. - Oral Roberts baseball will continue its seven-game road swing at North Dakota State this weekend. The Golden Eagles and Bison are scheduled to kick off the series Friday night at 6:30 p.m. before playing the final two games Saturday and Sunday, both at 1 p.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. 

The Golden Eagles lead the all-time series between the two programs 23-8, winning four straight and eight of the last ten. Oral Roberts swept the Bison in Tulsa April 1-3, taking the opening game of the series 10-3 before winning the Sunday doubleheader 6-3 and 8-6. The series is much more even when played outside of Oklahoma as ORU holds a narrow edge at 6-4.

North Dakota State comes into the weekend winners of four of their last five contests, including a nonconference victory over No. 19 ranked Minnesota on Tuesday, 7-4. The Bison are in the midst of a 10 game homestand which includes wins over Valley City State, Western Illinois and Minnesota. North Dakota State is led offensively by infielders Drew Fearing (.336, 48 H) and Brayden Resch (.297, 41 H), designated hitter Taylor Sanders (.287, 27 H), and outfielder Ben Petersen (.259, 35 H, 3 HR). On the mound, NDSU is paced by right-handers Brian VanderWoude (3.43 ERA, 6-2), Jordan Harms (3.16, 1-1) and Reed Pfannenstein (3.82 ERA, 2-1). The Bison are hitting .255 and have a 4.72 team ERA.

The Golden Eagles are led by sophomores Noah Cummings and Matt Whatley, the duo are both tops on the team in hitting with Cummings hitting at a clip of .361 and Whatley just behind at .347. Whatley, a Claremore, Oklahoma native, has 19 extra-base hits on the season including nine doubles, three triples and seven home runs. He also sits atop the squad with a .592 slugging percentage. Brent Williams leads the team with 38 RBI and seven home runs. The junior has 46 base hits for a .311 average.

Noah Cummings garnered College Sports Madness Summit League Player of the Week honors. The sophomore led the way for the Golden Eagles over the past week, helping ORU to a 2-1 series win over conference foe IPFW. In the three games in Fort Wayne, Cummings hit for a .455 average on 5-for-11. In total, the Alpine, California native scored five times and drove in seven RBI in the three games while drawing four walks. In the series finale, Cummings connected on his second home run of the season on a three-run shot to blow the game open in the ninth inning.

Junior Brent Williams has quietly led the Golden Eagles with 38 RBI this season. The Colorado Springs, Colorado native has drove in 11 RBI in the last nine game and leads the team with nine multiple RBI games. He has put together four three-RBI performances this season, including one in the series finale at IPFW last weekend.

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 19 appearances out of the bullpen recorded seven saves which is tops in the Summit League and 52nd nationally. In total, Womacks has not allowed a run in 18 straight games dating back Feb. 20 against Indiana State in his first action of 2016. He boasts a 0.36 ERA.

The Golden Eagles have been keen to getting out of trouble when opponents put runners on base this season, turning 33 double plays on the year. Against Little Rock, ORU was able to turn nine during the series. As a club, the Golden Eagles rank 84th in the nation in the category.

ORU ranks tops in the Summit League and 32nd nationally with 85 doubles. 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 36th in the nation in the category and of his 31 base hits, 15 are two-baggers.

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 .291 on the road.

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.

Redshirt senior Trevin Sonnier has been named to the 2016 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Watch List as announced by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame on Thursday. The Brooks Wallace Award, sponsored by Mizuno, honors the top college shortstop in the nation and will be presented as a part of the Night of Champions, an annual celebration that will take place in Lubbock, Texas on July 2. The Nederland, Texas native is currently among the Summit League leaders in runs scored (31), hits (43) and stolen bases (8) while hitting .312 with a .391 on-base percentage. He has committed just seven errors in 161 fielding chances this season and has been involved in 22 double plays in 38 games.

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 88 putouts while Sonnier (108) and Roark (89) 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 35 games behind the plate while serving as the teams' designated hitter three times.

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.

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.