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Humble beginnings led to big innings

 

There is no more of a humble winner than Miguel Ausua. The ABCA All-Midwest Region First Team honoree and Panola College transfer has done nothing but win award after award since his arrival at ORU.

The second-year star has quickly made his name known throughout college baseball, and rightfully so; Ausua was crowned Summit League Pitcher of the Year and an All-Summit League First Team selection, posting an astonishing 11-3 record and a conference-best 1.65 ERA. Ausua ranks third in the NCAA in wins and seventh in ERA, and the three-time conference player of the week has become the first ORU pitcher to tally double-digit strikeouts in a game since 2013.

He assimilated a season-high ten strikeouts against Omaha. Moreover, the Championship MVP accrued 36.2 scoreless frames to round out an almost perfect 38 innings of work as a junior. Ausua is ORU’s finest and being selected to the Pre-Season All American Team is highlighted as such. When asked about it, the Puerto Rican will nod his head and say, “These awards should have Oral Roberts baseball team on it, not Miguel Ausua. I play to glorify Jesus … that’s my way of saying thank you.”

This is a statement that one might expect to come from a Christian athlete who attends a Christian university, but when asked where his motivation for excellence comes from, Ausua would yet again surprise.

“I follow my dad’s steps. He is the main reason why I am here right now,” said Ausua.

A dad who lived as an example by waking up at 2 a.m. every day taught his son to take care of his own responsibilities. Sacrifice that demanded 12-14 hours a day to make sure that there was food on the table, and when he’d come back, he would drive little Miguel to practice, or when there wasn’t, he would get him out of his room to throw lemons (instead of a baseball) in the backyard.

“It hurt every time. I would hit one, and the juice would go into my eyes,” but the enduring craft paid off, reflecting in a five-hit, offensive onslaught to clinch the Summit League Tournament.

“He always said ‘I do what I do so when you guys grow up, you have the life I didn’t have. I don’t expect anything from you, except for a degree and a profession. If you’re happy, I’m happier,’” recalled Ausua. “And those are the words that never get out of my head when I’m feeling like things aren’t going my way.”

The senior added that his dad is still his motivation. Ausua receives calls every day from his hard-working father asking him how things are going. His father humbly lets him know that he still wakes up at the same time every day so that he can take care of the family back home.

“My family still lives in Puerto Rico” Ausua added, “I was the third member of my family to go to college behind my two older sisters, Shakira and Dashira.”

Ausua wants to leave a legacy and a standard— a standard that could only be rivaled by his favorite player Roberto Clemente, “He has been my favorite player since I was a kid just because of how good of a human he was.”

Ausua went on to elaborate that even though baseball in Puerto Rico is not much different than baseball in the United States, many Puerto Ricans fall short of the opportunities presented to those within the States to go on and play collegiate baseball.

Thankfully, Ausua found himself on the other side of the hedge, and his story is just beginning to unfold. Moreover the next chapter to Ausua’s story is an interesting one. Entering his final season as a Golden Eagle, he and the rest of the gang hunger for more.

No amount of sweat, blood and tears left on the practice field can stop the yearning to hear the crack of the bat again, Ausua will leave it all on the field regardless of the hardships that he’ll endure.

“One thing I can tell you about this season is that we’re darn good. I think this team will be very special,” said Ausua. “I’m not going to comment on whether the team is better than last year or not, but the returning guys are not pleased with one win at regionals last year. They all have a big dream which is going to Omaha, and they are working for it harder and harder every day to make that dream come true.”