Golden Eagles Close Regular Season with Run-Rule Victory
With the win the Golden Eagles (33-20 overall, 21-7 Summit) clinch their 13th straight Summit League regular-season title and the No. 1 seed for next weekend’s Summit League Tournament. Southern Utah ends its season at 23-31, 11-17.
ORU put the game away early by scoring 11 runs in the first inning, all off of Southern Utah starting pitcher Chris Chung (6-5). Nick Baligod started the scoring with an RBI double. Brandon King knocked in Baligod with a single to make it 2-0 and T.J. Bennett lined a two-run single two batters later for a 4-0 lead.
An RBI single by Brett Burch and a bases loaded walk by Joey Winiecki made it 6-0. Baligod picked up another RBI in the inning with a single, and Chris Elder knocked in two more with a single to give the Golden Eagles a 9-0 advantage. The final two runs of the inning came on a wild pitch by reliever Chase Rezac, with Baligod scoring from second and Elder coming in all the way from first to give ORU an 11-0 lead.
Baligod picked up his third and fourth RBI of the day with a two-run single in the second to make it a 13-0 game.
Southern Utah got on the board in the third on a sacrifice fly by Brock Westphal, but ORU got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Chris Williams drove in Schiller with a single for a 14-1 advantage.
The Thunderbirds scored twice in the top of the fourth, but Elder hit a two-run home run for ORU in the bottom of the inning to put the Golden Eagles up 16-4. RBI singles by Elder and Schiller in the sixth provided the final margin.
Guest (1-0) picked up the win for ORU, allowing three runs on five hits in four innings. The senior left-hander struck out five and walked one.
The Golden Eagles hammered Southern Utah pitching for 20 hits as every starter had at least one hit. Elder finished 4-for-5 with five RBI, while Baligod and Schiller each had three hits. Baligod finished with four RBI.
After the game seniors Baligod, Burch, Elder, Guest, Winiecki, Sowers, Sean Johnson, Bryce Smolen and Jason Stacy were honored for their contributions over the course of their careers.
Next up for the Golden Eagles is the Summit League Baseball Championship presented by American Airlines, May 26-28 at Sioux Falls Stadium in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Golden Eagles will enter the tournament as the number one seed and are scheduled to face fourth seeded Western Illinois on Thursday at 2 p.m. ORU is seeking its 14th consecutive Summit League Tournament crown and the league’s automatic NCAA Regional berth.