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ORU Splits Doubleheader with IPFW

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 04/30/2011
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TULSA—Alex Gonzalez struck out a career-high 13 batters in the nightcap as Oral Roberts split a Summit League doubleheader with IPFW, Saturday at J.L. Johnson Stadium. IPFW won the opener, 5-4, in 11 innings and ORU took the nightcap, 14-3.

ORU (21-17, 10-5) took an early lead in game one thanks to a two-out rally in the first. Cam Schiller started the rally with a single up the middle and moved to third on Chris Elder’s single down the right field line. Brandon King followed Elder with a single to right, scoring Schiller for a 1-0 lead.

Right-hander Sean Johnson retired the first seven batters he faced and 12 of 13 through the first four innings, allowing only a one-out infield hit in the third.

Brett Burch gave ORU a 2-0 lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.

But IPFW erupted to score four runs in the top of the fifth. Kurt Dudley led off the inning with a solo home run. Garrett Seagraves had a two-run single to give the Mastodons a 3-2 lead and Brett Clark’s two-out single plated a run to make it 4-2.

Joey Winiecki led off the bottom of the fifth with a triple and scored on Nick Baligod’s ground out to get ORU within 4-3. King led off the sixth with a solo home run to knot the game at 4-4.

The game remained tied through nine innings. IPFW (12-25, 7-8) broke through with the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th, thanks to a key ORU fielding error. Kristian Gayday led off with a single, setting up a sacrifice bunt situation. Cory Miller laid down a bunt right back to pitcher Matt Rush, who threw wildly to second base, allowing the runners to advance to second and third. After a ground out with the infield drawn in, Will Faulkner plated the winning run with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Gayday for a 5-4 lead.

ORU put the tying run on base with one out in the 11th but the Golden Eagles couldn’t score.

Rush (1-3) suffered the loss, allowing one run in 3.2 innings of relief.

Game two started well for the Golden Eagles, scoring three times in the first inning. Elder knocked in the first run when he reached on an error, allowing Baligod to score for a 1-0 lead. Following a ground out by King and a walk to T.J. Bennett, Bennett Pickar doubled to left-center field, scoring both Elder and Bennett for a 3-0 lead.

IPFW battled back and tied the game with three runs in the third. Run-scoring singles by Clark, A.J. Christensen and Nate Thomas tied the game at 3-3.

ORU snapped the tie in the fifth, sending 10 batters to the plate. With the bases loaded and one out, Winiecki plated Bennett with a sacrifice fly to give the Golden Eagles a 4-3 lead. Baligod followed Winiecki with an opposite field double, plating Brett Sowers and Chris Williams to make it 6-3.

Schiller knocked in Baligod with a single, and Elder followed Schiller with a two-run home run to make it 9-3.

The Golden Eagles put the game away with five runs in the sixth. Baligod and Winiecki had run-scoring singles, and Schiller knocked in two with his own singles. The final run of the inning scored on a bases loaded wild pitch.

Gonzalez (5-5) went the distance, recording his third complete game of the year. He allowed three runs (all earned) on seven hits and walked three.

Baligod, Schiller and Pickar each had three hits while Baligod, Schiller and Elder all knocked in three runs.

The Golden Eagles and Mastodons wrap up their four-game series Sunday at 1 p.m.

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