Bats, pitching help T-Birds split series with Oral Roberts

The T-Bird baseball team split in a four game series stretching Thursday through Saturday against Oral Roberts at Thunderbird Park.

SUU dropped the first game on Thursday afternoon.'

In the doubleheader on Friday afternoon, the T-Birds came up short in first game but finished the day scoring a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to win the second game.'

The T-Birds then finished with a strong showing in the final game of the series when they shut out the Golden Eagles Saturday.

SUU baseball head coach Dave Eldredge believes his team's confidence is growing and is likely to help them in the rest of the season.

Game 4: SUU 11, ORU 0

Freshman pitcher Justin Neubauer led the T-Birds to an 11-0 victory over the Golden Eagles as he dominated the mound only giving up six hits, two walks, while compiling nine strikeouts in a complete game shutout Saturday afternoon.

'We didn't have any errors today,' Neubauer said. 'We had better defense, better pitching outings, and better hitting.'

Oral Roberts had six errors throughout the game, which boosted SUU to a quick lead.
The T-Birds grabbed the lead after scoring seven runs in the bottom of the second inning and never looked back.'

Freshman designated hitter Joe Goldenberg led off the inning reaching first on a fielding error by the senior second baseman Colby Price.

Goldenberg then advanced to second on a failed pick-off attempt.'

Sophomore outfielder Mitchell Kauweloa scored Goldenberg on another fielding error by the Golden Eagles after a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Taylor Shaw advanced him to third base.

Freshmen infielders Braden Warren and D.J. Andrade followed with back-to-back singles scoring one run. The ORU defense allowed another run when a fielding error was made by junior shortstop Tyler Saladino.

Andrade and sophomore infielder Bo Cuthbertson crossed the plate as sophomore outfielder Marcus Romero hit a two-run single into center field.' Senior infielder Bucky Aona brought in the final run of the second inning as he hit a two-run home run.

The third inning opened for SUU with a leadoff double by Shaw.

Shaw crossed home plate on a double play ball and extended the T-Bird lead 8-0.'
SUU scored again in the bottom of the fifth inning on a failed pick-off attempt by the junior pitcher Mark Guest.

Aona hit his second home run of the day in the sixth inning.' Shaw would score again on yet another fielding error by the Golden Eagles.

'We're feeling good. We always knew we had the team to win,' Aona said. 'Now we're showing it.'


Game 3: SUU 10, ORU 9

The T-Birds pulled ahead to beat Oral Roberts 10-9 in the bottom of the eighth inning as Aona drew the walk-off walk to win the game with the bases loaded in a back-and-forth close contest.

SUU trailed 1-0 early on in the game but recovered by scoring 3 runs in the second inning.
Warren hit an RBI double to bring in the first two runs. The final run of the inning was ground ball to shortstop on the next bat.

The momentum quickly shifted back to the Golden Eagles as they matched the three runs scored by the T-Birds and went up 4-3 in the top of the third inning.

In the bottom half of the inning, Goldenberg had an RBI and senior outfielder Matt Sanford scored on a wild pitch.

SUU added to their lead in the fourth inning as the ORU defense made an error and allowed the T-Birds to score. SUU would score two more runs on a sacrifice fly by Romero RBI single by Sanford.

Oral Roberts would earn one run in the fifth inning.

In the next inning, the Golden Eagles' Saladino hit a grand slam home run, which allowed them to take the lead 9-8.

SUU answered back in the bottom of the sixth inning when Aona an RBI single to tie the game at 9-9.

Two innings later with the bases loaded, Aona drew the go-ahead walk to give the victory to the T-Birds.

Senior Kyle Melling pitched six innings for the T-birds giving up nine hits and eight runs, seven of which were earned. Melling also recorded an impressive 10 strikeouts.

Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Outram earned the victory as he pitched the two final innings without allowing Oral Roberts to score.

Game 2: ORU 16, SUU 9

The bats of Oral Roberts were too much for the T-Birds to overcome in a 16-9 loss to the Golden Eagles in the first of two games Friday afternoon.

Oral Roberts jumped out to an early lead as they scored four runs in the top of the first inning.

The T-Birds matched the runs later that inning starting with a solo home run by Cuthbertson.

SUU soon followed with two singles from Romero and Sanford.
Aona drove them across the plate when he hit a two-run double into left center.' Aona then scored on an RBI ground ball by Shaw.

The Golden Eagles then took back the lead by scoring two runs in the second inning. They lengthened their lead by scoring another pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning. The bats stayed strong for the Golden Eagles as they scored five more runs in the sixth inning to go up 13-4.

Andrade and Romero both hit singles and drove two runs home in the sixth inning. The gap closed to six runs (13-7) in the seventh inning when Shaw hit RBI single.

The Golden Eagles earned three more runs in the next two innings to go up 16-7. SUU started a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning by scoring the first run from a sacrifice fly.

Cuthbertson recorded an RBI single to score the final run of the game and leave the T-Birds short handed 16-9.

Senior pitcher Kyle Hamman suffered the loss for the T-Birds. He allowed eight runs over three and 1/3 innings pictched. Hamman also recorded three strikeouts.
Cuthbertson was 4-for-6 in the game with two RBIs.

Game 1: ORU 14, SUU 4

The T-birds were defeated by the Golden Eagles in the first game of the series 14-4 on Thursday afternoon.

Oral Roberts took an early lead in the first inning, but the T-Birds tied the game in the third inning with a sacrifice fly by Romero and the help of a wild pitch from junior pitcher Bryce Smolen.

The Golden Eagles would lengthen their lead to 9-2 at the end of the fifth inning.
Joe Goldenberg went 2-for-4 on the day with two solo home runs to cap off scoring by the Thunderbirds in the sixth and eighth innings.

Oral Roberts added to their lead with five more runs in the eighth inning to bring the game to a final score of 14-4.

Senior pitcher Steve Johnson allowed nine runs (seven earned) in four and 2/3 innings as he took the loss for the T-Birds. He also struck two batters out.


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