Oral Roberts’ historic season comes to a close

OMAHA, Neb. – Oral Roberts’ historic season ended on the sport’s biggest stage Tuesday afternoon.

The Golden Eagles lost to TCU 6-1 in the College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska. They finished with a 52-14 record and advanced to the College World Series for only the second time in program history.

“Just obviously not the way we want it to end,” Oral Roberts coach Ryan Folmar said. “But a little bit bittersweet in the fact that it does end in Omaha. I think if it’s ever going to end, this is where you want it to end.”

After winning 38 games and capturing an NCAA Tournament berth last year, the Golden Eagles were one of college baseball’s best stories this season. They won the Summit League to earn the No. 4 seed in the Stillwater Regional. They advanced and then upset Oregon in the super regional after dropping the first game of the best-of-three series.

The Golden Eagles were just the third No. 4 seed in NCAA history to advance to the College World Series and the first since 2012. It was their first College World Series appearance since 1978.

The Golden Eagles showed they belonged throughout their three games in the College World Series. In their first game, they rallied to defeat TCU, 6-5, after scoring four runs in the ninth inning. They nearly came from behind to defeat Florida on Sunday.

“It’s a historic year for our program,” Oral Roberts first baseman Jake McMurray said. “We have program record in wins. Second time ever being in Omaha, so obviously a very good year overall for us but just ran out of magic at the end.”

Unlike the first meeting between Oral Roberts and TCU, Tuesday’s deficit was too much for the Golden Eagles to overcome.

The Horned Frogs scored their first run on a two-out bases-loaded walk in the second. In the fourth, a balk by Oral Roberts pitcher Joshua Caravalho led to another run for the Horned Frogs.

In the fifth inning, the Horned Frogs broke open the game with four runs.

Cole Fontenelle had a shallow base hit to score one run, and Kurtis Byrne’s sacrifice fly to right field led to an additional run. With two outs, star freshman Anthony Silva laced a two-run single to left field to extend TCU’s lead.

The Golden Eagles didn’t go down without a fight, though.

After tallying just two hits through the first four innings, the Golden Eagles showed life in the bottom of the fifth inning. They managed three baserunners, with star junior center fielder Jonah Cox delivering a hard RBI base hit to right field to cut TCU’s advantage to 6-1.

The Golden Eagles tried to rally in the ninth inning. With two outs, the Golden Eagles loaded the bases to put pressure on TCU. TCU reliever Cohen Feser stepped up in the high-leverage moment, throwing a pitch past Matt Hogan in a full-count situation to end the game.

“Oral Roberts, as we know, leads the country in run differential from the seventh inning on. So they’re never out of a baseball game,” TCU coach Kirk Saarloos said. “And especially after Friday night being able to come back and secure the victory today was really awesome.

“Hats off to that club. Winning 52 games is hard to do. And they had an amazing season. Just hats off to Ryan and his whole team. I thought they’re a gritty bunch that played extremely hard.”

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski IIIhttp://BaseballProspectJournal.com
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on The3rdManIn.com, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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