Score: No. 4 South Dakota State 3 – No. 1 Oral Roberts 11
Records: SDSU (26-23) – ORU (37-18)
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (J.L. Johnson Stadium)
TULSA, Okla. – The top-seeded Oral Roberts baseball team used a five-run second inning to jump on No. 4 South Dakota State early and cruised to an 11-3 victory in The Summit League Championship Saturday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium. The win punched the Golden Eagles' ticket to the 2018 NCAA Baseball Championship for the 28th time in school history.
Noah Cummings capped the big inning lacing a bases-clearing double off the wall in left to tie the program's RBI record. The Alpine, California, native broke the mark launching a RBI sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the ninth as ORU added three insurance runs in the final inning.
The Golden Eagles utilized a season-high 15 free passes, including 11 walks, as eight of the 11 runs that scored reached base freely.
After ORU scored five in the second, the Jackrabbits had a chance to do damage in their half of the frame, as the home side, bringing the tying run to the plate before starting pitcher Josh McMinn struck out the final batter with the bases loaded. McMinn commanded the rest of his 6.2 innings to win his fifth-consecutive start.
Quotes of the Day
"How about that effort from Josh McMinn? That was pretty special. And for Noah, there have been a lot of big-time hitters through this place, and now his name is among the best. I thought that last one might get out for him, but it was good." – Head Coach Ryan Folmar
ORU wasted little time in asserting control of the championship contest as the first two batters reached safely on a walk to Pace and Rotola hit-by-pitch in the second inning. With both runners moving into scoring position on a wild pitch, Keizor sent a RBI single to left before Trevor McCutchin added a sacrifice fly allowing Rotola to score for a 2-0 lead. Harrison Smith continued the frame being hit-by-pitch and Cal Hernandez drew a two-out walk loading the bases for Cummings. The senior and Summit League Player of the Year delivered a major blow and cleared the bases on a double to left stretching the ORU advantage to 5-0.
Inside the Box Score
- Cummings tied the ORU career RBI record on the three-run double in the second. The three RBI pushed his all-time total to 199, tying ORU Assistant Coach Ryan Neill for the top spot. He broke the record on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the ninth inning becoming the first player in school history to reach 200 RBI in a career.
- Hernandez did not record an official at-bat as he was 0-for-0 in six total plate appearances, but totaled two RBI and two runs scored. The junior walked three times and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh as he was named most valuable player of The Summit League Championship.
- Andrew Pace reached base safely five times going 3-for-4 with two walks and a RBI single in the ninth, while Harrison Smith was on base four times with two hits and two free passes. Keizor and Nick Roark also reached base three times.
- McMinn bounced back from a tough opening two frames to put together a great day on the mound. The junior finished with 6.2 innings pitched allowing four hits and struck out four. He faced two over the minimum during a four-inning stretch as the ORU defense played exquisitely in the field adding two more double plays.
Summit League All-Tournament Team
Noah Cummings, Oral Roberts
Matt Elsenpeter, North Dakota State
Josh Falk, South Dakota State
Cal Hernandez, Oral Roberts (MVP)
Newt Johnson, South Dakota State
Riley Keizor, Oral Roberts
Tony Kjolsing, South Dakota State
Josh McMinn, Oral Roberts
Andrew Pace, Oral Roberts
Tucker Rohde, North Dakota State
Anthony Schneider, South Dakota State
Gus Steiger, South Dakota State
Blake Stockert, North Dakota State
Deion Thompson, Western Illinois
ORU earned its 28th all-time appearance in a NCAA Regional by way of its 19th-straight Summit League Championship. The Golden Eagles find out their destination May 28 at 11 a.m. during the NCAA Championship selection show live on ESPNU. Join the official watch party in the South Lobby of the Mabee Center Monday at 11 a.m. in a free event open to the public.
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