Severe weather knocked out power at J.L. Johnson Stadium on Wednesday night, delaying Oral Roberts’ opener in the Summit League baseball tournament.
The duo of Spencer Henson and Josh McMinn flipped the switch back on for ORU on Thursday afternoon, fueling the Golden Eagles’ 5-2 victory over South Dakota State.
ORU (27-24) will face Omaha at 11 a.m. Friday in the winners bracket. The Jackrabbits (27-21) played Western Illinois later Thursday in an elimination game.
Henson, a junior from Pryor and the Summit League player of the year, reached base safely five times, including two solo home runs.
“It has been the same approach the whole year,” Henson said. “I just had to trust it. Everyone was barreling up all day. That’s a big confidence booster and contagious.”
McMinn, a senior from Southwest Covenant in Oklahoma City, pitched eight strong innings. He scattered seven hits, struck out 10 and walked four.
“It was a great effort from Josh,” ORU coach Ryan Folmar said. “He competed really well and led in a big way today.”
The Golden Eagles trailed 2-0 after two innings, but Henson got the rally started with a two-out home run to left field in the top of the third.
Isaac Coffey tied it at 2 when he hit the first pitch of the fourth inning over the left-field fence.
Henson then gave ORU the lead for good with a one-out blast to almost straightaway center field in the fifth inning.
The Golden Eagles added two insurance runs with one out in the seventh. Jake McMurray was hit by a pitch and Hunter Wilson followed with a sharp single to right field. SDSU intentionally walked Henson, but Riley Keizor followed with a four-pitch walk to force in McMurray. Andrew Pace then brought home Wilson on a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Jackrabbits got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but Henson came on in relief and induced a groundout to preserve his big day and McMinn’s gem.
“It was amazing what Josh did today,” Henson said. “He has stayed mentally strong. It finally paid off today and it was really awesome to see.”
SDSU got its lone runs courtesy of a two-run homer from Derek Hackman with one out in the second inning.
McMinn settled down from that point, though. He had several key strikeouts and also got some strong plays from his defense.
“I thought we played well all around,” Folmar said. “Defensively and on the mound we were really good and offensively we had a lot of good swings.”
ORU 5, S.D. STATE 2
ORU 001 110 200 — 5 7 0
SDSU 020 000 000 — 2 8 0
McMinn, Swift (9), Henson (9) and Keizor; Olmstead, Moxham (7), Mogen (7), Suhr (9) and Hackman. W: McMinn (7-5). L: Olmstead (4-4). Sv: Henson (7). HR: ORU, Henson 2 (19), Coffey (6); SDSU, Hackman (2).