Hits were at a premium for both ORU and Western Illinois on a cool, rainy morning/afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium as neither team were able to get anything going offensively, but were able to take one from Western Illinois in Sunday’s rubber match.
The offense looked similar to yesterday for the Golden Eagles as the team went hitless until the fifth inning when right fielder Noah Cummings laced a single to left field to lead-off the inning. Four hits was all that ORU could muster against the Leathernecks, but it was enough.
ORU loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th inning as Trevor McCutchin, Cal Hernandez and Sam Grellner all reached base. Dylan Snypes got behind in the count 1-2 against Western Illinois reliever Nate Westfahl, but Westfahl’s next breaking ball hit Snypes in the right shoulder to send ORU to a 1-0 walk-off victory.
“We [stole one today] without question. I don’t know that we played well enough to win today. We definitely pitched well enough to win, but we were able to scratch one across and found a way,” said ORU Head Coach Ryan Folmer. “I think as the season goes along, you’re going to have weekends like this.”
The biggest moment in the game for ORU came in the eighth inning. Western Illinois led-off the inning with back-to-back singles by Mitch Ellis and Cord Church, but Cummings came up firing on the second single to throw Ellis out at third base. Ausua fanned the next hitter to end the threat in the inning. Noah Cummings throw in the 8th inning
Ausua was masterful in his start on Sunday morning and did everything he could to keep the Golden Eagles afloat despite their poor performance at the plate Sunday. The Peñuelas, Puerto Rico native scattered just five hits and struck out five over a career-high 8 1/3 scoreless innings, but earned a no-decision. While he did walk two Leathernecks, he was able to pitch around them and get himself out of a few jams.
“We’ve been working on some mechanical stuff in my last few bullpens and it’s been showing in my last couple of starts. Breaking ball has been working better and my fastball command was a lot better this weekend,” said Ausua of his start. “M stuff was the best it’s been today.”
Ausua has now given up just one run in 21 innings in conference play this season, the one run coming on a solo home run in his start against North Dakota State on March 19. He has pitched 13 straight scoreless innings overall.
The Golden Eagles face a tough challenge in their mid-week matchup against No. 15 Oklahoma on Tuesday. The Sooners defeated No. 2 Texas Tech Friday night and Sunday and come into Tuesday’s matchup with a record of 25-6. ORU mid-week starter Logan Michaels (3-1, 2.45 ERA) has been solid since his return to the rotation against Kansas back on March 15. Tuesday’s game in Norman will begin at 6:30 p.m.
“We just got to go out and have a good workout on Monday before facing a tough Oklahoma team on Tuesday. We’re going to go back to the drawing board, but you got to fell good about the way we played this weekend,” said Folmar.