Run-rule Victory Gives ORU Share of Regular Season Title, Tournament No. 1 Seed
The win gives ORU (32-20 overall, 20-7 Summit) at least a share of the Summit League regular-season title and guarantees the Golden Eagles the No. 1 seed at next weekend’s Summit League Tournament.
Despite a 1-hour, 8-minute rain delay in the middle of the fourth, Bowen (4-2) was outstanding against the Thunderbirds (23-30 overall, 11-16 Summit). The sophomore right-hander allowed just two runs on six hits and a pair of walks while throwing 110 pitches.
ORU wasted no time in jumping all over Southern Utah starting pitcher Andy Harvey (0-4), scoring four runs in the bottom of the first. Nick Baligod gave the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead when he knocked in Joey Winiecki with a single and after a walk to Chris Elder and a fly out by Brandon King, Cam Schiller followed two batters later with an RBI double for a 2-0 cushion.
Jared Schlehuber doubled home Elder and Schiller for a 4-0 lead.
The lead swelled to 9-0 in the second. Baligod knocked in a run with a double, and Elder and King connected for back-to-back sacrifice flies to make it 7-0. Brett Burch banged a two-run single to cap the scoring.
After the rain delay, the Golden Eagles scored another two runs in the fourth on an RBI double by T.J. Bennett and a run-scoring single by Burch to make it 11-0.
Bowen was touched for a pair of runs in the top of the sixth when Summit League batting average leader Bo Cuthbertson laced a two-run triple to get the T-Birds within 11-2. But Spencer Barnett knocked in the eventual deciding run with a groundout in the bottom of the sixth, and Bowen set down SUU in order in the top of the seventh to end it.
Baligod and Schiller led ORU with three hits each while Burch and Winiecki collected two apiece. Burch knocked in three runs and Baligod and Schlehuber each finished with two.
Harvey suffered the loss after allowing 11 runs on 11 hits in 3.2 innings.
The Golden Eagles and Thunderbirds close out the series and the regular season at 11:30 a.m., Saturday.