Pitching had the upper hand at J.L. Johnson Stadium, but it was the Golden Eagles who created just enough offense in their 3-0 win over Western Illinois Friday night.
ORU starter Justin McGregor was in cruise control all night limiting the damage, getting quick out and a carrying the load for the team in Friday’s win. McGregor mowed down the Leathernecks setting a new career-high in strikeouts with nine whiffs on the evening.
“At the beginning of the game, I figured out the strike zone and saw what the umpire was going to give me and went from there,” said McGregor of his start Friday night. “We worked on not trying to be so fine [with location] this week and attacking hitters with the fastball. If I’m going to miss, miss with a quality strike, not off the plate.”
It was also McGregor’s longest start of his Div. I career. The Midwest City, Oklahoma native finished the game going eight shutout innings allowing just four hits and walking three to go along with his nine strikeouts. McGregor is now 4-0 on the season and is now tied for the team-lead in victories (McMinn and Ausua).
ORU got on the board in the fifth inning after a walk to shortstop Dylan Snypes loaded the bases, Nick Roark came through for the Golden Eagles lining a single to right field to give ORU a 1-0 lead. Cal Hernandez’s sacrifice fly and Sam Grellner’s RBI single in the sixth inning would give ORU a 3-0 lead.
“Justin was the difference tonight and was really sharp. He gave up two hits in the second inning, but only gave up four in the game,” said Head Coach Ryan Folmar. “He had mound presence and controlled the running game. Just a really solid outing from him tonight.”
Western Illinois starter Ian Koch was also solid in his start Friday night despite taking the loss. Koch pitched 5 2/3 innings and although he allowed eight hits throughout he gave the Leathernecks a chance allowing just three runs.
The Golden Eagles look to move their win streak to eleven games in a row tomorrow afternoon. Sophomore Josh McMinn (4-1, 2.70 ERA) takes the hill for ORU against the Leathernecks. Saturday’s game is scheduled to start tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m.
“We want to build off each other with each other every night. If I were to go seven innings and give up one run, I would want Josh [McMinn] to go complete game shutout,” said McGregor. It’s a friendly competition we like to have with each other.”
-Friday night’s win was the first shutout of the season.
-Last shut out for ORU was back on April 12, 2016 when the Golden Eagles defeated Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
-McGregor now has four wins in five starts this season and a team-low 1.50 ERA. His nine strikeouts are also a team-high in 2017.
-Catcher Matt Whatley’s team-leading 22nd walk of the season in the 7th inning extended his on-base streak to 25 games in a row. Whatley entered the game 27th in the NCAA in walks.