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ORU's offense explodes late in 16-5 win

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The Oral Roberts baseball team scored in six of the final seven innings to erase an early deficit behind 13-unanswered runs claiming a decisive 16-5 victory over Western Illinois Thursday afternoon at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium.

The Golden Eagles had to rally back after the Leathernecks scored in three of the first four innings and did so behind nine extra-base hits, including four home runs, three of which came in a six-run ninth inning. It was the first time where ORU has hit three home runs in an inning since April 24, 2010, also against Western Illinois.

Michael Hungate set a career high with four hits and four RBI and Matt Whatley tallied the first multi-home run game of his career to pace the offense. In total, eight different players posted a RBI as the win sets up a rematch in the opening game of next week's Summit League Championship.

Bryce Howe and Spencer Henson were electric from the ORU bullpen to keep WIU from attempting a comeback, throwing the final six innings allowing only one unearned run. Howe picked up his first win of the season and Henson pitched three shutout innings to close out his first collegiate save.

Quote of the Game

"Just kept it simple today; trying to stay through the zone as long as possible. I've definitely been struggling with that recently, just getting through it quick, so I just kind of stayed long and through it and it seemed to help." – Senior outfielder Michael Hungate

Turning Point

After the Leathernecks took a 5-3 lead through five innings, the Golden Eagles struck for four runs on three hits in the top of the sixth and never looked back by scoring 13 times in the final four innings. Trevor McCutchin chopped a RBI grounder allowing Dylan Snypes to score the tying run, 5-5, and Trent Shelton added the eventual game-winning RBI on a sac fly into left. Sam Grellner capped the inning with his second of two RBI doubles on the afternoon giving ORU a 7-5 lead that the bullpen made stand.

Inside the Box Score

- Howe put together his most impressive outing of the season in long relief from the bullpen. The junior struck out a season-high six batters, including five straight, in three innings. He allowed only one hit and one, unearned run. Henson was just as effective surrendering three hits in three innings to earn the save.

- Hungate had a career outing for ORU going 4-for-5 with four RBI and a two-run home run, his third in the last week. The senior added two runs scored, including the game winner in the sixth.

- Whatley blasted a pair of solo home runs, leading-off the fourth frame and one in the ninth, posting a 4-for-6 day with three RBI and three runs scored. The junior entered the contest with 22 career home runs, but went yard twice for the first time in 158 games.

- Nick Roark extended his streak of reaching base safely to 24 games by getting hit by a pitch in the fifth inning and drew three free passes by the end of the contest. Snypes hit his team-leading third triple of the season on a 2-for-4 day. McCutchin and Grellner each added two hits as the team totaled 17 against WIU.

- Harrison Smith delivered a pinch-hit, three-run home run in the ninth inning to match a season high for RBI in a game.

- Thursday marked the fifth game this season where ORU has hit four or more home runs, increasing its season total to 65, which ranks 17th in the nation.

Up Next

The Golden Eagles and Leathernecks continue The Summit League series Friday afternoon with first pitch now scheduled for 1 p.m.

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