TULSA, Okla. – Oral Roberts continued its dominance on the diamond in the Summit League Baseball Championship, defeating South Dakota State, 11-3, in the title game Saturday afternoon at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
The Golden Eagles, who claimed their 19th league tournament title, improved to 38-18 overall. SDSU had its season come to an end with an 18-32 overall record.
For the second time in the tournament, SDSU starter Brady Moxham was pulled early after struggling with his control. The sophomore right-hander recorded only four outs while walking two and hitting three batters. The only hit Moxham allowed was a single by Riley Keizor in the second inning that scored Andrew Pace with the first run of the game. Trevor McCutchin followed with a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0.
Noah Cummings completed the five-run second-inning rally for Oral Roberts with a two-out, line-drive double off the wall in left field against Jackrabbit reliever Derek Feige that cleared the bases, scoring three.
The Jackrabbits got on the board in the home half of the second without the benefit of a hit. Newt Johnson led off the inning by being hit by a pitch. After a pair of outs, the bottom third of the SDSU lineup – Landon Badger, Skyler Wenninger and Derek Hackman – all drew walks, with the base on balls to Hackman forcing in Johnson.
ORU added to its lead with a pair of runs in the fourth. A sacrifice fly by Cal Hernandez plated the first run, while Spencer Henson followed two batters later with a two-out single through the left side that scored Nick Roark.
Of ORU’s first seven runs, six runners reached on either a hit by pitch or walk. Seven Jackrabbit pitchers combined to issue 15 free passes – four hit batters and 11 walks – in the game.
Golden Eagle starter Josh McMinn settled in, allowing only four hits the remainder of his outing, which lasted 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked three.
SDSU closed to within 8-3 by scoring twice in the bottom of the eighth. The Jackrabbits opened the inning with consecutive singles by Tony Kjolsing, Nick Smith and Johnson, with Kjolsing scoring on Johnson’s hit to left field. Smith later scored on a fielders choice.
Johnson was the lone Jackrabbit to notch more than one hit, going 2-for-3 in his final collegiate game.
A bases-loaded hit by pitch to Cal Hernandez forced in a run for ORU in the seventh, and the Golden Eagles tacked on three more in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Cummings and run-scoring singles from Spencer Henson and Pace.
Pace was 3-for-4 to lead the Golden Eagles, who held a 12-7 advantage in hits.
Brett Mogen allowed one run over three innings of relief to lead the Jackrabbits in the pitching department.
Oral Roberts held a 7-1 advantage in the season series. … The Golden Eagles lead the all-time series 51-14, including an 11-0 mark in Summit League Baseball Championship contests. … SDSU was making its fifth appearance in the Summit League title game and first since winning the postseason tournament in 2013. … The Jackrabbits have compiled a 16-17 record in nine Summit League postseason tournament appearances, including a 2-4 mark in title games. … Newt Johnson ended his career ninth in games played at SDSU with 196. … Tony Kjolsing finished eighth in career assists for the Jackrabbits with 342. … Moxham tied the single-season school record for starts by a pitcher with 16 (Francisco Torres, 2005). … Badger robbed Henson of a home run in the top of sixth with a leaping catch over the fence in left-center field. … SDSU was represented on the all-tournament team by Josh Falk, Newt Johnson, Tony Kjolsing, Anthony Schneider and Gus Steiger.
ORAL ROBERTS 11, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 3
Oral Roberts 050 200 103 – 11 12 0
South Dak. St. 010 000 020 – 3 7 0
Josh McMinn, Taylor Varnell (7), Brady Womacks (8) and Riley Keizor; Brady Moxham, Derek Feige (2), Brett Mogen (4), Bret Barnett (7), Mitchell Oehme (7), Quinn Reimers (7), Andrew Zimmerman (9) and Derek Hackman, Kolton Michalski (8). W – McMinn (6-5). L – Moxham (1-6). 2B: ORU, Noah Cummings, Nick Rotola; SDSU, Josh Falk.
Photo from www.gojacks.com.