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Golden Eagles Begin Fall Practice

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 09/26/2008
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ORU senior first baseman Mike Notaro
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TULSA – The Oral Roberts University baseball team has begun fall practice in preparation for the 2009 season, where the Golden Eagles look to claim their 12th consecutive conference championship.

ORU’s fall practice runs through mid-October, with intrasquad scrimmages at J.L. Johnson Stadium held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The scrimmages are free and open to the public.

Sixth-year head coach Rob Walton welcomes 17 returning lettermen from last season’s squad that compiled a stellar 48-14 mark and captured the Summit League championship en route to making their 11th straight NCAA appearance. The Golden Eagles have to replace 13 letterwinners from 2008, including seven of the top eight hitters in the lineup. ORU will also be without last season’s Summit League Player of the Year (Brian Van Kirk), Pitcher of the Year (Carlos Luna) and Newcomer of the Year (Ben Petralli).

Headlining the returnees are first-team all-conference selections Juan Martinez and Michael Notaro, while second-team selections T.J. Kelly and Jerry Sullivan, along with Mark Serrano, return to the pitching staff.

Martinez, a senior second baseman, started all 62 games last season, posting nine homers and 55 RBI. Martinez batted at a .394 clip in Summit League play, which ranked fifth in the conference. Notaro, a senior first baseman, saw action in 46 contests, batting .336 with 10 homers and 42 RBI. Notaro’s .631 slugging percentage ranked second on the squad.

Kelly made 24 appearances last season, primarily in the closer role. The senior hurler posted 31 strikeouts in 33.2 innings pitched and earned 10 saves. Sullivan, a 2007 Freshman All-America selection, went 9-2 on the season and led the squad in innings pitched with 104.1. Sullivan posted a 3.88 ERA with 108 strikeouts. Serrano led the team with a 3.09 ERA last season, and limited opposing batters to a .231 batting average in 67.0 innings pitched.

Highlighting the class of 19 newcomers are infielder Danny Duffy, catcher Seth Furmanek and right-handed pitchers Drew Bowen and Jason Stacey.

Duffy, the brother of former ORU standout Brendan Duffy (2006-08), batted .333 last season at Yavapai Community College, with 16 doubles and 33 RBI. Furmanek joins the Golden Eagles from Chandler Gilbert Community College, where he was a first team all-region and all-conference selection. Furmanek set eight school records in high school, including 31 career homers.

Bowen was a three-time all-conference selection at Tulsa’s Memorial High, where the hard-throwing right-hander led the Chargers to three consecutive league championships. Stacey comes to ORU from Central Arizona College, where the Phoenix, Ariz., product posted a 2.40 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched in 2008.

- ORU -

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