The Leathernecks spent the holiday weekend on the diamond, as they welcomed the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles to Alfred D. Boyer Stadium for a 4 game series, spanning from Thursday to Saturday. The Leathernecks came into this series 8-13 and a series win against South Dakota State. Oral Roberts came in with a record of 9-14. And ORU came in and conquered as they took 3 out of 4 from the Leathernecks.
In game 1, The Leathernecks sent Jack Carberry to the mound, while the Golden Eagles turned to Tanner Rogen. Oral Roberts got the scoring going early, when Joshua Cox doubled down the left field line, making it a 1-0 game. Two innings later, Cox doubled again, this time down the right field line, boosting the lead to 2-0. ORU scored again in the 6th on a sac bunt, making it 3-0. But the Leathernecks came right back in the bottom half, as Dillon Sears and Trenton Bauer both hit doubles to even the score at 3-3. But Oral Roberts responded in the top of the 7th, highlighted by a balk on the Leathernecks to make it 6-3. The Golden Eagles would not look back, and they ended up taking the first game of the series, 6-4. The winning pitcher was reliever Cade Denton, notching his first win of the season. The losing pitcher was Jack Carberry, who dropped to 1-3 on the season.
Game 2 of the series saw a seesaw battle between the two teams. The first game of a Friday doubleheader saw the Leathernecks turn to starter Jace Warkentien, while the Golden Eagles sent Evan Kowalski to the mound. Oral Roberts made a statement early, as leadoff hitter Ryan Cash took Warkentien deep to give ORU an early 1-0 lead in the 1st. The next inning, ORU grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring another run to make it 2-0. In the bottom of the third, however, Western Illinois stormed back. After a couple of RBI singles, Chase VanDerGinst got hit by the pitch to score another run and give the Leathernecks a 3-2 lead. Oral Roberts struck again and took the lead in the next two innings on two RBI singles to make it a 4-3 Golden Eagles lead. Fast forward to the 9th inning, ORU had taken an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth, trying to shut the door on the first game of the doubleheader. Trenton Bauer singled up the middle to cut the deficit to 8-5. Then, Toby Allred stepped up with the bases loaded, and smacked a double to center field, clearing the bases, nodding the game up at 8-8. The Leathernecks then walked off on a wild pitch, scoring Allred, to give Western Illinois a come-from-behind 9-8 victory. The win was credited to Will Jaynes, tallying his first win of the season. The losing pitcher was Bradan Pierce, getting his second loss of the season.
Game 3 was only a 7-inning game due to the doubleheader. The Leathernecks sent out reigning Summit League Pitcher of the Week Brett Sears, while Oral Roberts pitched Isaac Coffey. The Golden Eagles jumped on Sears early, as they had an 8-0 lead by the 4th inning, highlighted by a 5-run second inning and a Jake McMurray home run in the 4th. By the time this one was over, Oral Roberts won by the score of 10-0. Isaac Coffey took his 3rd win of the year, while Brett Sears took his 3rd loss of the year, dropping to 2-3 on the season.
In Game 4, Oral Roberts was looking for the series win, while the Leathernecks were trying to split. In this game, Oral Roberts again took over the game with their bats, as the starter from game 3, Isaac Coffey, took the Leathernecks deep to left center, giving ORU an early 2-0 lead in the second. The Golden Eagles then proceeded to hit 4 more home runs in the game, coming from Brody Gibson, Ryan Cash, Caleb Denny, and Jordan Wiley. After this one was all said and done, Oral Roberts cruised to a crushing 18-5 win over the Leathernecks, taking the 4 game series.
Western Illinois dropped to 9-16 overall on the year, and 5-7 in the conference after this series. They are now 4th in the conference. Oral Roberts improved to 12-15 on the year, and 5-3 in the conference. They are in second place in the Summit League. The Leathernecks will travel to Fargo, ND next weekend to take on the North Dakota State Bison in a 4-game series. Oral Roberts will play the Oklahoma Sooners of the Big 12 in a single game matchup on Tuesday in Norman, Oklahoma. They will then go home for a 3 game weekend series against Houston Baptist.