June 4, 2011
FORT WORTH--Oral Roberts kept its season alive Saturday, eliminating No. 2 seed Oklahoma with a 7-0 victory in Game 3 of the NCAA Fort Worth Regional at TCU's Lupton Stadium. Sophomore starter Drew Bowen pitched eight shutout innings for the fourth-seeded Golden Eagles to earn the victory.
ORU improved to 37-21 on the season and will play the loser of Saturday evening's Game 4 between No. 1 TCU and No. 3 Dallas Baptist on Sunday at 2 p.m. Oklahoma ended its season with a 41-19 record.
Bowen was stellar on the mound for the Golden Eagles, scattering five hits and two walks over eight frames. Bowen, who shut out Western Illinois in his last appearance back on May 26 in the Summit League Tournament, ran his streak of scoreless innings pitched to 17 while improving to 6-2.
ORU reliever Joe Spring took the ball in the ninth after the Sooners put runners on first and second against Bowen, but Spring was able to work around a walk of his own to strand the bases loaded.
While Bowen was cruising on the mound throughout the contest, Oral Roberts was taking advantage of a litany of Sooner mistakes in the field to run out to an early lead. The squad scored three runs in each of the first two innings with only four of the tallies earned. The Sooners committed a season-high six errors overall on the afternoon.
ORU collected eight hits, including two by right fielder Nick Baligod, who added an RBI. First baseman Jared Schlehuber drove in three runs, while left fielder Chris Elder, designated hitter Brandon King and third baseman T.J. Bennett totaled one RBI each.
ORU chased OU starter Burch Smith after recording only two outs in the first inning. With only one out in the first, Schlehuber drove home Chris Elder and King on a single to left center after Schlehuber and Elder reached base on a hit by pitch and walk. Bennett then followed by driving home Cam Schiller on a single to right center to make it 3-0 and end Smith's afternoon.
It appeared as if the Golden Eagles would put more runs on the board in the inning, but the Sooners were able to limit the damage by gunning out both Baligod and Schlehuber at the dish.
Oral Roberts continued to pile on runs in the second, sending nine batters to the plate. The squad was helped by a pair of Sooner errors in the inning, one on a throwing error to second base by catcher Tyler Ogle on a sacrifice bunt attempt, and one on another throwing miscue by second baseman Cale Ellis. Catcher Bennett Picker, center fielder Joey Winiecki and Baligod all scored for ORU, with only Winiecki's being earned on a fielder's choice by King.
Baligod drove home the Golden Eagles' final run while reaching base on a fielding error by OU first baseman Cameron Seitzer, who was playing in on infield grass. ORU second baseman Spencer Barnett, who led off the inning with a walk, came around to score.
Center fielder Chris Ellison proved to be one of the few offensive bright spots for the Sooners, going 3-for-5 on the afternoon to account for half of the squad's hit output. Pinch hitter Ricky Eisenberg recorded the game's only extra-base hit on a double while adding a pair of walks in his three plate appearances.
ORU POSTGAME NOTES
Including his shutout effort against Western Illinois in the opening game of the Summit League Tournament, Drew Bowen has tossed 17 consecutive scoreless innings during the 2011 post season ... ORU defeated Oklahoma for the first time in four all-time meetings in regional play ... The shutout was ORU's first in Regionals since an 8-0 win over Nebraska in the 2008 Lincoln Regional ... ORU was won at least one Regional game in seven of Rob Walton's eight seasons as head coach.