Lucky 13! Golden Eagles Down South Dakota State for 13th Straight Baseball Title
With the win ORU (35-25) earns the Summit league’s automatic bid to NCAA Regionals, which begin play next Friday, June 4. Regional sites will be announced on Sunday and regional pairings will be announced on Monday.
Playing as the visiting team the Golden Eagles wasted no time in taking control of the game, scoring five runs in the top first. Joey Winiecki and Sequeira started the spree with back-to-back doubles to give ORU a 1-0 lead. Baligod followed Sequeira with a two-run home run for a 3-0 lead, and Elder connected for a two-run shot three batters later as ORU surged to a 5-0 advantage.
ORU knocked South Dakota State (39-21) starting pitcher Stephen Bougher (2-4) from the game in the second inning after Sequeira doubled home another run with one out, giving ORU a 6-0 lead.
The Golden Eagles extended their lead to 7-0 in the fourth on an RBI single by Baligod, and took a 9-0 lead when Bennett Pickar’s bloop single scored a pair of runs with two outs in the fifth.
SDSU finally got on the board on a solo home run by Zach Briggs in the bottom of the fifth, abut ORU came right back with two run in the top of the sixth. Sequeira doubled and scored on a single by Baligod, who later came around to score when Elder reached on a two-out error as ORU took an 11-1 lead.
The Jackrabbits capped their scoring with a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the sixth, and Baligod knocked in ORU’s final run with an infield single in the top of the ninth.
Jeff Burleson (8-4) tossed six solid innings to earn the championship victory. The senior right-hander allowed two runs on six hits, striking out three and walking three. Dallas Beeler pitched the final three innings, allowing only a two-out single in the ninth, to earn his second save.
Sequeira finished 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. The senior first baseman reached base in all six trips to plate and tied an ORU single-game record with three doubles. Baligod was 4-for-5 with five RBI. Winiecki and Elder had two hits each as ORU battered five SDSU pitchers for 16 hits. Elder finished the tournament with three home runs and eight RBI.
Briggs was the only Jackrabbit with more than one hit, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Summit League All-Tournament Team
Keegan Acker, Centenary
Nick Baligod, ORU
Joel Blake, SDSU
Chris Elder, ORU (MVP)
Seth Furmanek, ORU
Beau Hanowski, SDSU
Connor Mielock, Oakland
Zach Rhodes, SDSU
Tim Ryan, Oakland
PJ Sequeira, ORU
Bryce Smolen, ORU
Brett Sowers, ORU
Billy Stitz, SDSU
Kyle Teague, Oakland