Hunter Wilson legged out a triple and needed a moment.
The Spiro native and Oral Roberts graduate transfer had to call timeout during Spencer Henson’s at-bat in the ninth inning at J.L. Johnson Stadium. A few seconds later, Wilson vomited down the left-field line. And unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, it was an omen for what came next.
Wilson’s triple was ORU’s only hit in the final inning, and the Golden Eagles watched as Omaha celebrated a 4-0 victory to claim the Summit League baseball championship Saturday afternoon.
“We ask our guys to go out and compete, and they did that,” ORU coach Ryan Folmar said. “Just came up a little short after running into a good arm.”
He was referring to Omaha’s Payton Kinney (11-1), who dominated on the mound against ORU (29-26) for the third time this season. With the Summit League title on the line, the right-handed pitcher tossed 7⅓ scoreless innings, giving up only one hit and three walks.
“There’s a reason he is the pitcher of the year in our conference,” said Folmar, whose team was seeking its 20th straight Summit tournament title. “He was really good here today on short rest.”
After throwing 84 pitches in a win over Western Illinois to start the tournament Wednesday, Kinney returned after two days’ rest to throw 91 pitches and record 10 strikeouts for Omaha (31-22-1).
“You can see how close we are,” Kinney said of his Mavericks teammates. “To be able to come out here and compete for them after they’ve worked so hard for me, that’s a great experience and one I’ll never forget.”
The only hit off Kinney was Jake McMurray’s infield single to start the game, but Kinney worked around it with a double play three batters later. He even retired 16 straight batters until he walked Wilson to lead off the seventh.
In the eighth, Kinney walked Drew Lowe and hit Hunter Swift with a pitch, and he gave way to reliever Grant Suponchick, who struck out Trevor McCutchin and got Anthony Martinez to ground out to end the threat.
“Giving it off to Grant Suponchick — my roommate — and having him get those two outs was huge,” Kinney said.
Omaha’s offense consisted primarily of two Braden Rogers home runs — a solo shot in the second and a two-run missile over the left-field wall in the sixth.
“I’m at a loss of words right now,” said Rogers, who entered the game with only two homers all season. “To do this with these guys, it’s just the best feeling ever.”
It all culminated in a celebratory dogpile near the pitcher’s mound after Cal Hehnke got Riley Keizor to fly out to end the game.
“That was great because I got to be on top of this one,” Kinney said. “It feels a lot better than the bottom, I’ll tell you that.”
For ORU, starter A.J. Archambo (4-3) suffered the loss after giving up two runs in two innings.
ORU 6, Omaha 0
Freshman Trey Wolf (1-3) pitched a four-hit shutout with six strikeouts to force the winner-take-all title game.
The Golden Eagles picked up seven hits, including two apiece by Keizor and Isaac Coffey. Keizor also drove in two runs.
ORU 6, Omaha 0
Omaha 000 000 000 — 0 4 1
ORU 301 110 00x — 6 7 0
Brighton, Lovin (5) and Bonar; Wolf and Keizor. W: Wolf (1-3). L: Brighton (2-4).
Omaha 4, ORU 0
ORU 000 000 000 — 0 2 2
Omaha 020 002 00x — 4 8 0
Archambo, Rainwater (3), Swift (7) and Keizor; Kinney, Suponchick (8), Hehnke (9) and Bonar. W: Kinney (11-1). L: Archambo (4-3). HR: Omaha, Rogers 2 (4).