The Golden Eagles battled and used clutch hitting to defeat No. 19 Texas Tech, 5-4, on Tuesday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
ORU was in a tough spot in the eighth inning, down 4-3. A Dean Wilson double to right put the tying run on base, but the Golden Eagles quickly picked up two outs. That wasn’t a problem. Matt Whatley walked and Derrian James crushed a fastball off of the wall in left-center to give ORU a 5-4 lead.
“We hung in there, we gave ourselves a chance late,” Head Coach Ryan Folmar said. “We got a lot of good effort from a lot of different places today.”
ORU started the game flat. Starter Bryce Howe couldn’t get out of the first inning. In 1/3 innings, Howe gave up three runs on three hits and a walk before the coaches decided that they had seen enough.
A big turning point in the game was in the top of the 5th inning when Zach Davis of Texas Tech hit a deep fly ball to the wall in left field. Left fielder Rolando Martinez jumped over the wall to bring a would-be home run back into the ball park, keeping the game within reach. Martinez was shaken up after the play and removed from the game.
The bullpen for the Golden Eagles was strong. After Howe’s early exit, the combination of pitchers Tyler Buss, Phillip Wilson, Jacob Teague, Sean Leary, Colin Hightower and Anthony Sequeira kept the Golden Eagles in the game. Hightower earned his first victory of the season, while Sequeira earned his fourth save of the season.
James continued his hot stretch against Texas Tech. In his last five games, James is hitting .368 and has a season average of .304.
“He’s continued to get better all year long,” said Folmar. “He’s been a rock in our outfield all year long, especially with all the injuries that we’ve had. He’s been that steady guy for us.”
The Golden Eagles are now 4-1 against Big 12 opponents and finish the season 2-1 against Texas Tech, showing that they can beat anyone in the country. They also move to 18-0 when leading after eight innings.
“It comes down to attitude and toughness. I think our leadership has a great mindset,” said Folmar. “Whether you beat them today or tomorrow, we’re going to come back and try to grind you out.”
The next home game for ORU will be April 21, when the Golden Eagles take on UALR at J.L Johnson Stadium. First pitch will be at 6:30 p.m.