Offensive Explosion Puts ORU on Brink of 13th Summit Title
In winning their 32nd straight Summit League Tournament game, the Golden Eagles move within one victory of their 13th straight tournament title. ORU (34-25) will face either SDSU or Oakland at 1 p.m., Saturday.
Elder belted a grand slam in the first inning and a two-run homer in the fourth as ORU assaulted five Jackrabbits (38-20) pitchers for its highest post-season scoring output in six years.
After SDSU scored a run off ORU starting pitcher Seth Furmanek in the top of the first, the Golden Eagles exploded in the bottom of the inning. Tyler Saladino started the spree with an RBI single, which scored P.J. Sequeira and moved Nick Baligod to third. After a walk to Furmanek, Elder blasted an 0-1 offering from Blake Treinen over the wall in right field, giving ORU a 5-1 lead.
Brett Sowers followed Elder’s homer with a solo shot of his own, a line drive just over the wall in right, as ORU made it 6-1.
South Dakota State’s Zach Rhodes hit a solo home run in the top of the second as the Jacks pulled to within 6-2, but the Golden Eagles got the run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI groundout by Baligod.
SDSU plated a pair of runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Rhodes and a sacrifice fly from Zach Briggs, but again ORU answered. Furmanek ripped a two-run double and Elder connected on a two-run homer as ORU pushed its lead to 11-4.
Three more ORU runs scored in the fifth. Sequeira doubled home Colby Price and Bennett Pickar, and Saladino plated Sequeira on a fielder’s choice for a 14-4 ORU lead.
The Jackrabbits tired to get back in the game with two runs in the top of the sixth, but ORU once again answered the Jacks on a sacrifice bunt by Joey Winiecki and a single by Sequeira, giving ORU a 16-6 advantage.
Price added a two-run double in the seventh for an 18-6 lead and Furmanek capped the scoring with a monstrous three-run homer over the batter’s eye in centerfield in the eighth, giving ORU a 21-6 advantage. The home run was Furmanek’s 22nd of the season, leaving him one shy of tying Mike Hill’s Summit League season record.
Elder finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Furmanek was 2-for-5 with five RBI. Saladino was 3-for-6 with two RBI and four runs, and Winiecki and Price had three hits each.
Furmanek, who caught nine innings in Thursday’s win over Centenary, lasted just four innings on the mound for ORU, allowing four runs on seven hits. Mark Guest (3-3) picked up the win with two innings in relief of Furmanek. Sean Johnson tossed three shutout innings to earn the save.
Blake Treinen (7-1) suffered the loss for SDSU, allowing 14 runs in four innings.