Billikens Spoil ORU's Season Opener
It wasn't exactly the start to the 2013 season the Oral Roberts baseball team was looking for on Friday, as the Golden Eagles dropped the season opener to Saint Louis, 4-2.
After ORU starter Jose Gonzalez set the Billikens down in order in the top of the first, sophomore Jose Trevino stepped to the plate, delivering a shot over the left field wall for the first run of the season for the Golden Eagles.
Trevino ended his freshman campaign in 2012 with 13 home runs, tied for the team high with Jared Schlehuber.
The junior Gonzalez was credit with the loss, pitching eight innings, allowing five hits and no earned runs. Picking up the victory was Alex Alemann and James Norwood entered the game in the sixth inning to earn the save for the Billikens.
Unfortunately, the Golden Eagle defense was as cold as the weather, committing four errors in the ball game. One of the more costly errors came in the top of the sixth, when a misplayed fly ball put leadoff batter Mike Levine on base.
The error didn't seem to both Gonzalez, striking out the next batter, followed by a pop out in foul ground for the second out of the inning. However, with two outs, first baseman Mike Vigliarolo blistered the first pitch of the at bat that easily cleared the left field wall, to give the Billikens a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the eighth, the error bug struck ORU yet again. With Levine standing on second base after ripping a pitch to left center for a double, Danny Brennan hit a dribbler to second base for an infield single. A pair of Golden Eagles ultimately collided while pursuing the hit, causing the ball to get away, allowing Levine to score.
"One area we knew we needed to improve our game in was the defense," said first year head coach Ryan Folmar following the loss. "It reared its ugly head today, but we are going to keep working and hopefully get better throughout the year on that end."
The Billikens tacked on another run in the top of the ninth as Grant Nelson hit the third home run of the contest to left field.
Like in many openers, it takes a few games to work the rust off in the field. The story held true for Saint Louis as well, committing their two errors in the ball game in the final half inning.
Following a double to left off the bat of Austen Colt, Logan Domenico reached base when the SLU first baseman dropped an easy fly ball. ORU eventually loaded the bases on the next batter when the Billiken first baseman booted a ground ball by Kevin Cho.
With two outs after a couple of strikeouts, junior Matt Brandy, a transfer from St. Pertersburg College in Florida, took four pitches for the free pass, pushing in Domenico from third for the final run of the game.
Nate Goro had a solid day, both in the field and at the plate, going three for four. Transfer Joey Migliaccio and Brandy each added hits as well.
Overall, the Golden Eagles stranded 13 runners on base to just five by Saint Louis.
"We have a lot of guys that got their first Division I college experience and that's important," mentioned Folmar. "We have two games left in the series and you got to be able to bounce back from tough losses the next day."
The same two teams go at it again tomorrow after for the second game of the three game set with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.