OMAHA, Neb. – It took extra innings, but Oral Roberts finds itself in a familiar spot: the title game of the #SummitBSB Championship presented by U.S. Air Force Special Warfare. The top-seeded Golden Eagles are now 21-for-21 in advancing to the final as a league member after they defeated fourth-seeded South Dakota State 5-3 in 11 innings in an elimination game Friday at Tal Anderson Field.
ORU plated three unearned runs in the second to jump out in front of the fourth-seeded Jackrabbits. ORU had just two singles in the frame, but a Jackrabbit throwing error allowed the first run to score and the top seed would scratch across two more off SDSU starter Adam Mazur.
The Jackrabbits answered with a run in their half of the second, but both offenses stalled after that as the pitching staffs settled in as they combined for 34 strikeouts.
ORU starter Evan Kowalski mowed down a season-high nine of those in his five innings of work, while Mazur fanned six in matching that work load before both gave way to their respective bullpens.
Colton Weber came in for Kowalski and was effective through his first two innings, but in the eighth Carson Max led things off with a double to a start a rally that saw the Jackrabbits square things up at 3-3. SDSU plated those runs after ORU closer Adam Scoggins entered the game with one out and runners on first and second.
Drake Frazier quickly loaded the bases with a pinch-hit single and the Jacks would score the first run when Scoggins could not handle a soft comebacker and then they would tie things up on what ended up being a fielder’s choice after a soft liner fell between second baseman Ryan Cash and rightfielder Caleb Denny. The Golden Eagles got a force out at second place, but Garrett Stout was able to score the game-tying run.
Ryan Bourassa relieved Beazley and held ORU’s offense in check, allowing just two hits before the Golden Eagles got to him for a pair of runs in the eleventh. Jordan Wiley led off the inning with a single and came around to score on a RBI-single by Anthony Martinez to make it 4-3. Joshua Cox then added an insurance run with a bloop double down the rightfield line.
After the shaky start to his outing, Scoggins was locked in the rest of the way. He struck out the side in the ninth, fanned two more in the tenth and struck out the side again in the eleventh. He went a season-long 3-2. innings to pick up his third win of the season.
Pitcher of Record
Win – Adam Scoggins (3-1): 3.2 IP, 2 hits, 0 earned runs, 0 walk, 9 strikeouts
Loss – Ryan Bourassa (0-4): 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 5 strikeouts
• The last extra inning game at the tournament was in 2014 when No. 2 seed Western Illinois defeated No. 3 seed Fort Wayne 8-7 in the opening game in 2014. These two played an extra-inning affair in the 2011 title game that ORU won 5-4.
• ORU has now reached the championship game in all 21 Summit Leageu Tournament appearances and this victory sets up a rematch of the 2017 title game that featured the top-seeded Golden Eagles vs. the second-seeded Bison. The roles were reversed that year as ORU was the unbeaten entering the title game.
• The Golden Eagles will be looking for their 20th tournament title (last 2018) while NDSU is looking for its second (2014). This will be the third time these two teams have met in the championship game with ORU winning both times in 2012 and 2017.
• Three Golden Eagle pitchers combined for 23 strikeouts which broke the team record for punchouts in a tournament game that was held by the 2009 ORU squad when it had 17 in a game vs. Southern Utah (May 22). The record was broken by the ninth inning when Scoggins recorded the team’s 18th of the contest after striking out the side.
• ORU has won the previous 18 Summit League Tournament titles when it has been the No. 1 seed.
No. 1 seed Oral Roberts will play No. 2 seed North Dakota State in Saturday’s championship game at 2 p.m. CT. If the Golden Eagles win the first game, a winner-take-all game will take place 30 minutes following its conclusion.