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FT. WORTH, Texas - The Oral Roberts University men’s tennis team played their tightest Southland Conference match of the season on Monday afternoon but fell to Texas-Pan American, 5-2. Fabian Zierleyn and Braxton Bates each earned their first conference singles wins of the season for Mark Milner’s team, with Zierleyn adding a doubles triumph.

Zierleyn won the top flight individual match with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 comeback victory over Thomas Panoulas, while Bates handled Joseph Bishop, 7-6, 7-6, on court five.

Jason Mechali teamed with Zierleyn for ORU’s victory at No. 1 doubles, as the pair eased past Sebastian Job and Felix Hasselberg, 8-6.

ORU (2-13, 0-4 SLC) had an opportunity to secure the important doubles point on court two, but Parker Allen and Nathaniel Avery dropped the tiebreak and suffered a 9-8 loss to Ricardo Hopker and Chetan Panditi. UTPA (7-13, 1-2 SLC) also won on the third court, where Panoulas and Victor Alves won an 8-2 decision over Bates and Gabriel Kanelopoulos.

The Golden Eagles hung tough in the other four singles matches and had opportunities to win, most notably in the sixth flight, where Hasselberg rallied past ORU’s Bates, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.

On the second court, Hopker bested Mechali, 6-2, 6-0, while Panditi was a 6-2, 7-6 winner over Allen on court three. At the No. 4 spot, Alves ended Avery’s day with a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

The Golden Eagles play their final Southland match of the season on Saturday, when they face Lamar in Beaumont, Texas.

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