Streak Continues as ORU Downs NDSU Twice For 15th-Straight Title
TULSA, Okla.-The streak of 37-consecutive tournament wins ended on Friday, but one of the most impressive streaks in the country continued as No. 1 Oral Roberts beat No. 3 North Dakota State twice on Saturday to claim its 15th consecutive conference tournament title, earning the Summit League's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
A late rally in game one broke open a 1-1 tie, while a four-run fifth inning in game two was enough for the Golden Eagles (37-23) to get the sweep over the Bison (40-20).
ORU placed six on the All-Tournament team, including Tournament MVP Drew Bowen, who pitched 10.1 innings over the course of two appearances for ORU. He did so without allowing an earned run and posted a win and a save, striking out eight without walking a batter. Brandon King, Jared Schlehuber, Joe Spring, Mike Torrence and Jose Trevino also earned a spot on the team.
2012 Summit League Baseball All-Tournament Team
Simon Anderson, NDSU
Drew Bowen, ORU (MVP)
Tim Colwell, NDSU
Jason Hager, OU
Nolan Jacoby, OU
Brandon King, ORU
Kyle Kingsley, NDSU
Kyle Kleinendorst, NDSU
Brad Royer, SUU
Tim Ryan, OU
Jared Schlehuber, ORU
Joe Spring, ORU
Mike Torrence, ORU
Jose Trevino, ORU
Oral Roberts 4 - North Dakota State 1 (Game 1)
With three hits and three RBI, Trevino led the way for ORU in game one as they topped North Dakota State 4-1, forcing a second championship game, the first one since the 1997 Mid-Con Tournament.
After getting the leadoff man on in each of the first two innings, ORU took advantage in the second after a leadoff single by King. King stole second and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Healy. Bennett Pickar brought him home with a opposite field shot into the right field corner to make it 1-0.
North Dakota State finally got its first hit in the third inning but solid defense was able to get the Golden Eagles out of the inning with the 1-0 lead intact.
Although ORU had plenty of base runners, the best chance came in the sixth when ORU used a leadoff single from King and walks to Pickar and Nate Goro to load the bases with one out, chasing starter Ernst from the game.
After pitching into the eighth without allowing a run, Torrence finally gave up a single up the middle, which allowed Tim Colwell to score from second and tie the game at 1-1, with ORU four outs from victory.
Looking destined for extra innings for the second day in a row, Trevino had other thoughts as he pulled a line drive over the left field wall in the top of the ninth to break a tie game and put ORU up 4-1 with three outs to go to force a winner-take all contest.
Alec Smith, who came into the game in relief in the eighth, got ORU to within one out of victory, earning the victory in the process. Lars Liguori got the final out and his first save of the year. Torrence left the game with no decision after going 7.2 innings giving up just one run on four hits.
Oral Roberts 4 - North Dakota State 3 (Game 2)
A double down the right field line from Nick Anderson scored Tim Colwell and Wes Satzinger in the first inning for North Dakota State, and chased starter Tim ZuFall from the game in favor of Spring, who made his third appearance in the tournament.
Having pitched four innings of scoreless relief, Spring finally got the run support as Schiller laced one into right field, easily scoring Goro from third and after a great jump, Domenico from second to tie the game at 2-2. Two batters later with one on and two outs, the Summit League Player of the Year untied the game as Schlehuber blasted his 13th home run of the season over the left centerfield wall to make it a 4-2 Golden Eagle lead.
The Bison got one back in the top of the 7th, cutting the ORU lead in half. After two singles and an error loaded the bases, Spring was lifted in favor of Bowen. Pitching on just one day of rest, Bowen surrendered a run with a wild pitch, allowing Tim Colwell to score. But the Summit League Pitcher of the Year came back to strike out Anderson and keep the score 4-3 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
After ORU missed opportunities to score in their next two innings, Bowen was left to face the top of NDSU's order in the 9th. The Golden Eagle ace retired Tim Colwell on a groundout, Nick Colwell on a fly out and Satzinger on a groundout to secure ORU's 15th straight conference title.
Spring's six innings of work earned him the victory, running his record to 6-2. The senior allowed just one unearned run while striking out three.
Wentz took the loss to fall to 2-6, while Bowen earned his first save of the season after tossing the final 1.2 innings.
The 16 NCAA Tournament Regional sites will be announced Sunday at 2:30 pm CT, while the full 64-team field will be revealed Monday at 11 am CT on ESPNU.
ORU will host a watch party with the team at Buffalo Wild Wings at Tulsa Hills at 11 a.m. on Monday and fans are encouraged to come out and watch the selection show with the team.