Jackrabbits fall out of first place
TULSA, Okla. - Chris Elder's two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning propelled Oral Roberts to a 4-2 victory in the nitecap and a doubleheader sweep of South Dakota State in Summit League baseball action Saturday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
With the sweep, which started with a 12-6 win in the opener, ORU took over first place in the league standings by improving to 29-18 overall and 17-6 in The Summit League. The Jackrabbits fell to 31-16 overall and 16-7 in league play.
SDSU took a momentary lead in the top of the sixth inning by breaking a 1-all deadlock. With two outs, Daniel Telford drew a walk. An errant pickoff attempt at first base allowed pinch-runner Andrew Phelan to move all the way to third base and he scored on a base hit to center field by Jesse Sawyer.
However, Oral Roberts came right back to take the lead against All-America closer Trever Vermeulen. Brandon King opened the inning with a base hit and Elder followed with his eighth home run of the season, a blast to right-center field. The Golden Eagles tacked on another run as Cam Schiller doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single to left field by T.J. Bennett.
ORU scored the first run of the game on a run-scoring single by Jared Schlehuber, but the Jackrabbits tied the game with an unearned run in the third inning.
Golden Eagle starter Alex Gonzalez picked up his seventh victory of the season, striking out five, walking four and allowing only three hits in 6 1/3 innings. Lars Liguori got a double-play grounder to end the game in notching his first save.
SDSU starter Alex Oberle was tough in his five-inning stint on the mound. A senior from San Jose, Calif., Oberle left with the lead as he allowed only one run on four hits, while walking one and striking out two.
Vermeulen dropped to 2-3 on the season.
Elder was the only player with more than one hit in the game as he finished 2-for-3 to lead ORU's eight-hit effort.
In the opener, Oral Roberts struck for seven runs in the third inning en route to a 12-6 victory.
SDSU squandered a 4-0 lead, scoring three times in the second and once in the third. Eric Cain, Sawyer and Andrew Melton all doubled in the second inning against Sean Johnson, with Sawyer's two-bagger driving in two runs. He later scored on Melton's opposite-field double. The Jackrabbits' third-inning run scored on a double-play grounder after Joel Blake, Zach Rhodes and Phelan hit consecutive singles to open the frame.
Jackrabbit starter Blake Treinen ran into trouble in the nightmare third inning, which was aided by two Jackrabbit errors. The Golden Eagles tied the game on Cam Schiller's RBI single down the left-field line and took the lead when another run scored on a groundout. T.J. Bennett gave ORU a cushion with a two-out, two-run single.
Nick Baligod pushed the lead to 8-4 with a solo home run to lead off the fourth, but the Jackrabbits stayed within striking distance as Zach Briggs connected on a solo home run in the sixth.
Bennett Pickar and Brandon King hit two-run home runs in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, to close out the ORU scoring.
SDSU held a 16-11 advantage in hits as seven different Jackrabbits recorded two hits. The Jackrabbits stranded 10 runners in the game. Schiller was 3-for-5 to pace ORU.
Dan Martony picked up the win in relief after allowing two runs in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out three, allowed seven hits and walked only one.
Treinen fell to 5-3 on the season despite striking out eight in five innings. The right-hander allowed eight runs - five earned - and six hits, while walking four.
The two teams are scheduled to wrap up their four-game series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Game 1: ORAL ROBERTS (Okla.) 12, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 6
SDSU 031 001 001 6-16-2
ORU 007 100 22X 12-11-1
SDSU: Blake Treinen, Marcus .Heemstra (6), Shane Kraemer (8) and Zach Briggs. ORU: Sean Johnson, Dan Martony (3), Mark Guest (6), Jason Stacy (7), Matt Rush (8) and Bennett Pickar.
W-Martony (3-0). L-Treinen (5-3). Save-none.
HR: SDSU-Zach Briggs (2); ORU-Nick Baligod (5), Brandon King (8), Bennett Pickar (2).
Game 2: ORAL ROBERTS 4, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 2
SDSU 001 001 0 2-3-0
ORU 010 003 X 4-8-2
SDSU: Alex Oberle, Trever Vermeulen (6) and Nick Andrews. ORU: Alex Gonzalez, Lars Liguori and Brett Burch, Bennett Pickar.
W-Gonzalez (7-5). L-Vermeulen (2-3). Save-Liguori (1).
HR: ORU-Chris Elder (8).