The Western Illinois Baseball team is in Tulsa, Oklahoma for tomorrow's Summit League Tournament. Western (18-30, 12-15 Summit League) returns to the tournament for the first time since 2014.
Coming in as the four seed, WIU will meet the top seeded Oral Roberts Golden Eagles for a 6:00 PM contest. The winning team will play the victor of (2) North Dakota State and (3) South Dakota State Thursday at 6:00 PM. The losing teams from each Wednesday game will meet Thursday at noon. The double-elimination style tournament concludes Saturday, with the championship earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
For the Oral Roberts game, the projected starter is senior Preston Church. The southpaw sports a 3.56 ERA on the year and bosts a 3-4 record. He missed a month during the second half of the season, but has made two starts in the final two weeks of the season. Church pitched well against Oral Roberts last Friday, throwing five innings of one-run ball in Macomb. He allowed just three hits while striking out six batters in the no decision.
On the season, WIU is 1-4 against ORU, 1-5 in meetings with NDSU and 2-4 vs. SDSU. Western is the only Summit League team to win a road game against Oral Roberts, which finished the year 25-4 in league play.
I spoke with Western Illinois Head Baseball Coach Ryan Brownlee about the tournament and what his team needs to do to make a run in Tulsa.