It’s the bottom of the fifth, bases loaded, ORU is down by two. Cam Schiller steps up to bat and a few pitches later hits into a double play.
Although ORU would score a run in the inning, it would be held to three and give up six, losing April 17 to the University of Oklahoma and falling to 17-18 on the season. This year, ORU has underperformed as a whole, while at times flashing moments of brilliance that fans are accustomed to seeing.
Outside the conference, ORU is 13-15 while within the Summit League the squad is 4-3. Although neither record is horrible, some feel that ORU has underperformed this season. The main example is the team’s offense, which is hot and cold from one game to the next.
The Golden Eagles have 14 games where they scored 2 or less runs (1-13); but have 13 games where they scored more than 6 (13-0). ORU is swinging for the fences, which can reap benefits or dig a grave.
The Eagles are fourth in the league in batting average (.257), but possess a runaway lead in the league for home runs (28) and are second in slugging percentage (.387). ORU’s squad also ranks fifth in on base percentage (.339) and fourth in walks drawn (123).
Realistically, except for the batting average, none of these stats is terrible. However, if ORU hopes to compete with powerhouses outside the Summit League this season, the team will have to find a more consistent stroke.
Something that cannot be knocked is ORU’s pitching, which sits atop the Summit League in multiple pitching categories: ERA (3.32), opponent batting average (.253), batters struck out (252), hits allowed (277), runs allowed (126), earned runs allowed (108) and innings pitched (293.0).
When looking at these stats, it’s really a head-scratcher as to why ORU can’t seem to get on a roll, as premium pitching is not common in college baseball. But as previous stats show, if ORU can get run support then they are a tough club to beat. So what does ORU have to do to win? Well, despite having a Jekyll and Hyde offense, the Golden Eagles are second in the Summit League standings and only a half-game back.
Furthermore, in the Summit League, North Dakota State is the only team whose overall record is above .500, though they’re only 2-2 against fellow Summit League teams. ORU still has 15 games until the Summit League Championship, with 12 of those games being conference games.
So although ORU seems to be struggling right now, there is definitely time to improve on these things before playoff time rolls around. Not to mention the simple fact that although ORU is having an off year offensively, the Eagles still rank near the top of virtually every offensive category in the Summit League.
It’s safe to assume that the Eagles just haven’t peaked yet, but are still competing. But for those who are in love with America’s pastime, that’s the beauty of baseball. It’s a sport that’s not measured how you start, but when you connect the dots and pull it together.
ORU still has yet to click as a team, but there’s still plenty of innings to play, plenty of balls to hit and more than enough summer sunshine to grace J.L. Johnson’s diamond. The only thing that’s left to do is find a seat, open a bag of peanuts and watch some baseball.