In the opening game of its series with Oral Roberts, Western Illinois Baseball lost 16-5 Thursday afternoon at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium. The loss locked WIU into fourth place in the Summit League, which means these two teams will meet in the opening game of the league tournament in Tulsa on Wednesday. Western's record now sits at 18-29 on the year and 12-14 in Summit League play. ORU is now 38-14 overall and 24-4 in league games.
While sophomore right hander Ian Koch picked up the Leatherneck loss, he pitched well early, holding the top scoring team in the league to three runs through five innings. Junior Johnathan Fleek was locked in early at the plate, hitting that RBI single in the third inning, as he started the game off 2-2 at the dish.
In the sixth inning the wheels fell off for the Leathernecks. After Koch allowed three baserunners on his first four batters faced, reliever Pete Minella could not get WIU out of the jam. Four Golden Eagle runs came across that inning, moving the score to 7-5 in favor of ORU.
Oral Roberts scored nine more runs over the next three innings, including six in the ninth inning. The combination of Minella, Connor Rektorski, and J.T. Baksha out of the bullpen could not get much going, giving up a total of ten runs and three home runs. Western only put five more runners on base, while getting three additional hits.
With the final score reaching 16-5, Western lost to Oral Roberts for the third time this season. The teams meet at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium again today at 1:00 PM, for the second game of a three game series.