The ORU baseball team swept Omaha this past weekend. The team has won 10 of its last 12 games and are looking to build of its recent stretch of success. The Golden Eagles improved to a 3-0 record against the Big 12 after defeating in-state rival Oklahoma State last Tuesday.
“This is a really resilient team,” said Head Coach Ryan Folmar. “For as young as we are, we don’t get rattled easily and we don’t lose our composure. When we play well, especially on the defensive end, I think we’re as good as anybody.”
First baseman Brent Williams has been an offensive force during conference play, hitting a robust .455 with six home runs and 25 RBI. Catcher Matt Whatley has been just as productive hitting .400 with four home runs, 15 walks and 14 RBI.
Pitching struggled early in the season for the Golden Eagles. The club sported a 5.48 ERA over 15 games, but has turned things around recently with a respectable 3.50 ERA in their last 15 games.
Senior pitcher and co-captain Nick Wood was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week for his performance against Western Illinois on April 9. Wood pitched a complete game shutout while facing the minimum of 27 batters. The California native allowed just one hit and struck out seven.
“We’re bulldogs. We’re going to fight all the way down to our last pitch,” said Wood when asked about the team’s identity through 35 games. “We have a good chemistry as a group and we’ve meshed well together, so we never feel we’re out of the game.”
The team currently has a 23-12 record overall (as of April 18) and a first place Summit League standing with a record of 12-3 in conference play. South Dakota State is sitting in second place with an 8-6 record.
The margin for error will now become smaller as the Golden Eagles begins the second half of its season. Health is also crucial as the team hopes to maintain the success its had.
“Teams are gonna get better and better as the year goes on,” said Folmar. “We have some things we have to clean up if we want to get to where we wanna go.”
ORU will begin a seven-game road trip on Friday when the team travels to Fort Wayne, Indiana to face IPFW. Sophomore Bryce Howe (2-2, 3.93 ERA) will get the nod for ORU against the Mastodons. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Mastodon Field.
Story by Russell Dorsey, Photo by Jeremy Luczak