ORU Silences Missouri State Bats to Even Season Series
April 2, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Five Oral Roberts pitchers teamed up to hold Missouri State to just four hits in a 4-1 decision over the Bears Wednesday evening at J.L. Johnson Stadium. Pepe Gomez limited MSU to a single run on three hits over five innings before the Golden Eagle bullpen slammed the door with four innings of one-hit ball.
Gomez (3-3) fanned four and walked two, allowing only a Blake Graham solo home run in the fifth, as the five ORU hurlers permitted just four baserunners over the final seven frames. Hayden Holley allowed a sixth-inning single to Eric Cheray before Colin Hightower worked a 1-2-3 seventh and Kyler Stout struck out the side in the eighth to give the Golden Eagle offense time to build on their one-run lead.
Jordan Romano closed the door on the Bears with a scoreless ninth, wrapping up his sixth save of the season with a 3-6-1 double-play grounder.
Audie Afenir drove in two runs, while Tyler Boss went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and Anthony Sequeira added two hits in three at-bats to lead the ORU attack.
Just as they did in the two clubs' first meeting of the season--a 3-2 MSU win on Feb. 25--the Golden Eagles built a 2-0 lead behind the pitching of Gomez. Boss ignited a second-inning rally with a one-out single, starting a string of four consecutive ORU hits against Bears starter Jake Powers. Sequeira followed with a base hit to center before Brandon Healy's chopper to third put the home club on the board. Afenir put the finishing touches on the rally with a solid single to left that brought in Sequeira for a two-run Golden Eagle advantage.
ORU (13-14) threatened again in the third after a lead-off double from Logan Domenico, but Powers wiggled his way out of trouble by coaxing a pair of fly balls to left. The senior hurler also got a lift from his defense, as Aaron Meyer and Conor Smith teamed up to gun down Domenico at the plate to end the inning.
After mounting a threat in the second with a pair of singles and a walk, Gomez held the Bears in check until the fifth when Blake Graham connected on a one-out blast into the right-field bullpen for his first collegiate home run--and hit--to slice the Golden Eagle lead in half.
With two out in the seventh, Jose Trevino came through for the home club, driving in Emmanuel Forcier with a base hit to right center to extend the margin to 3-1. Afenir followed suit the following inning, laying down a squeeze bunt to bring in Boss after a wild pitch and a stolen base set up the scoring opportunity.
Powers (1-2) was tagged with the loss despite allowing just two runs on six hits and a pair of walks in 6.0 innings.
In addition to Graham's big hit, Cheray provided a bright spot for the MSU offense, going 2-for-2 with two walks to extend his streak of reaching base safely to nine consecutive plate appearances.
Missouri State (13-15) returns to action against Missouri next Tuesday (April 8) with a 6 p.m. game at Taylor Stadium in Columbia.