FARGO, N.D. – With only three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Oral Roberts baseball team makes its longest trip of the year traveling to North Dakota State for a three-game series against the Bison May 5-7. Game one is slated for Friday night at 6:30 p.m. with game two Saturday at 2 p.m. and the finale set for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
THE STORYLINE: The Golden Eagles won their fifth-straight game Tuesday night shutting down in-state rival Oklahoma State, 4-1, in a last-minute schedule addition. ORU is six games clear of second-place Western Illinois, while NDSU is seven games back of the first place Golden Eagles in The Summit League standings with three series remaining.
FACING THE BISON: ORU holds a 27-10 record all-time against NDSU after a series sweep in the conference-opening weekend in Tulsa. The Golden Eagles out-scored the Bison 22-4 in the three games, but will try to avenge a series loss the last trip to Fargo. ORU enters ranked 103rd in the latest RPI projection, while NDSU checks in at 271.
POWER NUMBERS: Noah Cummings continues to climb the NCAA rankings as a run producer. The junior jumped to seventh in the NCAA with 56 RBI, while his 1.30 RBI per game also ranks seventh nationally. He paces The Summit League in RBI tallying 17 multi-RBI games this season.
PITCHING RANKS: ORU's pitchers have combined for the 10th-best earned run average in the nation at 3.09 after limiting the Cowboys to their lowest hit total of 2017. Miguel Ausua ranks sixth in the country with eight wins in 11 starts for the Golden Eagles. Josh McMinn, Ausua and Justin McGregor are the only three starters in The Summit League with a sub-three ERA to pace the conference.
ROAD READY: Starting April 4 in Norman, the Golden Eagles will travel roughly 3,600 miles for 18 contests during the final weeks of the season. ORU faces its longest trip of the year heading to Fargo, North Dakota.
MILESTONE WIN: March 26 against South Dakota State, ORU Head Coach Ryan Folmar picked up his 150th career victory after a 6-2 win. His record now stands at 153-103 (.598) in his fifth season leading the Golden Eagles.
FREE BASES: During a 13-inning game March 24, ORU drew a season-high 13 walks against South Dakota State. It was the most in a single game since a 16-walk effort at Little Rock March 24, 2015. The teams also combined for 26 walks, more than any other game in at least 20 years at ORU.
MORE LEAGUE HONORS: Senior Grant Glaze picked up his first-career Summit League Pitcher of the Week honor after a career day at SDSU last week and Matt Whatley followed with his second weekly award Monday. Glaze threw five shutout innings in long relief striking out eight, while Whatley hit .636 in a weekend sweep of Fort Wayne adding eight RBI.
TOP THE SUMMIT AGAIN: For the second time this season, Noah Cummings and Justin McGregor were named Summit League Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. Cummings accounted for 15 runs during a perfect 4-0 week, while McGregor threw ORU's first complete game in 2017 at Omaha.
THIRD TIME THE CHARM: ORU landed both the Summit League Player and Pitcher of the Week for three-straight weeks March 13 with Dylan Snypes and Josh McMinn earning the honors. Snypes had a pair of three-hit efforts, including his team-leading eighth double, while McMinn pitched eight innings in a win over No. 16 DBU allowing just one earned run.
SUMMIT HONORS: Matt Whatley and Justin McGregor were named Summit League Player and Pitcher of the Week in week three. Whatley extended his hitting streak with a pair of home runs at U.S. Bank Stadium and McGregor moved to 2-0 with a mid-week win at Kansas.
WEEKLY WINNERS: ORU swept The Summit League weekly honors in week two as Noah Cummings and Miguel Ausua were named Player and Pitcher of the Week. Cummings hit .500 with two home runs, six RBI and a .938 slugging percentage. Ausua limited Alabama to just one run and six strikeouts in six innings securing the weekend sweep.
TOURNAMENT ACCOLADES: The Golden Eagles had three players named to the 30th Dairy Queen Classic all-tournament team in Minneapolis. Matt Whatley (catcher), Nick Roark (2nd base) and Trevor McCutchin (designated hitter) were all named to the team.
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 16-10 mark against the Power Five, going 11-4 when facing a team from the Big 12. ORU is 20-21 against teams in Power Five conferences during his tenure.
WALKING OFF: For the first time since April 7, 2009, an ORU hitter provided late-inning fireworks hitting a walk-off home run. In the bottom of the 13th inning Feb. 18 against Little Rock, senior Michael Hungate drove a ball well over the fence in left field for a 4-3 victory.
SEE US NATIONALLY: Thirteen ORU baseball games will be available nationally on ESPN3 with nine home games televised. Al Jerkens will have the live play-by-play call, while former OU pitcher George Frazier and ORU catcher Erik Hansen will provide color commentary.
WHATLEY WATCH: Junior Matt Whatley was named one of the 10 best catching prospects for the 2017 MLB Draft by HERO Sports Baseball. The Claremore, Oklahoma, native was a 2016 ABCA/Rawlings All-Midwest Region Second Team selection hitting .363 for the Golden Eagles.
RETURNING DEPTH: ORU boasts one of its most experienced lineups in recent history welcoming back 20 letter winners. The returners accounted for more than 70 percent of the run and hit total from 2016, including all but seven of the team's home runs. The pitching staff, behind 12 pitchers back on the roster, returns its winning pitcher from 30 of its 38 victories.
DAUNTING SCHEDULE: ORU again faces a daunting schedule in 2017 taking on three NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago, including two games against Oklahoma State, a College World Series participant. The schedule features seven teams that ended the 2016 campaign ranked in the nation's top 85 by RPI.
HOSTING THE BEST: The top four teams in the league's regular-season standings will qualify for The Summit League Baseball Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As defending champions, ORU is set to host the four-team event at J.L. Johnson Stadium from May 24-27.
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.
For the latest information on ORU Baseball, follow the Golden Eagles on Facebook, Twitter 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.