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Improbable Rally Lifts Golden Eagles Past Wichita State, 8-7

Courtesy: ORU Media Relations
          Release: 05/10/2011
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Chris Elder was 4-for-5 with four RBI vs. Wichita State.

WICHITA, Kan.-Oral Roberts scored four runs in the top of the ninth to rally for a stunning 8-7 win over Wichita State, Tuesday at Eck Stadium.

The win was the first for ORU (26-18) when trailing after eight innings. In fact, the Golden Eagles had just one victory all season when trailing after six innings.

Down 7-4, Spencer Barnett led off the ninth with a walk against Caleb Elam (2-1), and Nick Baligod followed with a double just inside the bag at first base. Joey Winiecki bounced a single up the middle to score Barnett and cut the deficit to 7-5. Brandon King lined a single to right to score Baligod and pull the Golden Eagles within 7-6.

With Winiecki at third and King at first, Chris Elder blooped a single to left, which eluded left fielder Micah Green for an error, allowing both runners to score for an 8-7 ORU lead.

Matt Rush took the mound in the bottom of the ninth and allowed just a two-out walk for his eighth save of the season.

Elam, who entered the game with a 0.85 ERA in 31.2 innings, took the loss. He was charged with three earned runs in just 0.1 innings.

ORU starting pitcher Bryce Smolen ran into trouble in the bottom of the first, allowing a base hit and a walk with one out. Preston Springer next lined a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right field for a three-run home run and a 3-0 Wichita State lead.

After a sacrifice fly in the second gave the Shockers a 4-0 lead, ORU's offense went on the attack with a two-out rally in the top of the third.

After Zach Beringer retired the first two batters of the inning, Baligod belted a solo home run to make it 4-1. Winiecki followed with a bunt single and promptly stole second base. King drew a walk, and Elder blasted Beringer's 3-2 pitch over the right-center field wall, tying the game at 4-4.

Three defensive miscues in the bottom of the third gave Wichita State the lead back. After a lead-off single by Springer, third baseman Brett Sowers booted a hot shot from Johnny Coy for an error, putting runners at first and second. Tyler Coughneour hit what appeared to be a double play ball, but second baseman T.J. Bennett skipped his throw to first, putting runners at first and third with one out.

Don Lambert rolled another would-be double play to Schiller, but Bennett was upended by Coughenour, allowing Springer to score for a 5-4 WSU lead.

More defensive lapses hurt the Golden Eagles in the fifth. Sowers made an error on a one-out hopper by Walker Davidson and, after the Shockers loaded the bases, second baseman Bennett allowed Springer's two-out roller to go under his glove for a two-run single, scoring a pair of runs for a 7-4 lead.

The Golden Eagles banged out 16 hits as the top five in the order (Baligod, Winiecki, King, Elder, Schiller) had 13 hits and seven RBI. Elder was 4-for-5 with four RBI, while Baligod had three hits, and Winiecki, King and Schiller had two each.

Joe Spring (3-1) picked up the win after pitching a shutout inning in the eighth.

The Golden Eagles next open a four-game Summit League series against South Dakota State at 6:30 p.m., Friday, at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Oral Roberts 8, Wichita State 7 (May 10, 2011 at Wichita, Kan.)
Oral Roberts........ 004 000 004  -  8 16  2      (26-18)
Wichita State....... 311 002 000  -  7  9  1      (30-23)
Pitchers: Oral Roberts - Bryce Smolen; Dan Martony(2); Sean Johnson(3); Jason Stacy(5);
Mark Guest(6); Brad Fisher(7); Joe Spring(8); Matt Rush(9) and Bennett Pickar.
Wichita State - Beringer; Labrie(3); Minnis(7); Elam(8); McGreevy(9) and O'Brien.
Win-Joe Spring(3-1)  Save-Matt Rush(8)  Loss-Elam(2-1) 
T-3:05  A-3461
HR ORU - Nick Baligod (4); Chris Elder (7).
HR WSU - Springer (8).
Elam faced 5 batters in the 9th.


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