After an Oral Roberts pitching collapse in the eighth, Blaze Brothers blasted a go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth, and the Golden Eagles maintained their stunning postseason run with a 6-5 win against TCU in the College World Series opener on Friday.
The Eagles, the lowest seed to reach Omaha since 2012, scored four in the ninth against Luke Savage after trailing by three. Drew Stahl’s RBI single got ORU within 5-3, and Brothers’ first homer since May 24 came on a 0-1 pitch to left.
Brothers called it slow motion. “Right when I felt it off the bat, it felt pretty good, and I saw the left fielder kind of turn around, and I thought, ‘Oh, that ball’s out. Lets go. I wanted to rejoice with the boys.”
Oral Roberts is in the CWS for the first time in 45 years, and despite a rough eighth inning, the Summit League upstarts won for the 24th time in 25 games.
Jonah Cox’s 47-game hitting streak ended with a 0-5 game.
ORU (52-12) will play the winner of Friday’s Florida-Virginia game on Sunday night. TCU (42-23) will face the Florida-Virginia loser Sunday afternoon in an elimination game.
“You’ve got to give credit to Oral Roberts where credit is due,” TCU coach Kirk Saarloos said. I saw it in the playoffs. They returned. They’re tough and ancient. The ninth swing was excellent. Nothing would change. Our lads played hard. It sucks when someone loses a game.”
At Charles Schwab Field, Eagles fans included members of their 1978 CWS squad and Mike Moore, the 1981 amateur draft’s No. 1 choice who threw 14 years in the majors.
Justin Quinn of ORU stated, “They just tell us to keep going. “They enjoy watching us and we enjoy doing it. I believe we can succeed if we maintain confidence and persevere.
ORU’s dugout was tense when TCU had runners on first and second with one out in the ninth against Cade Denton.
Denton (3-1) got Karson Bowen to chase a fastball beyond the zone for the second out to set up a matchup between the National Stopper of the Year and Frogs’ best offensive threat Brayden Taylor. Taylor’s lineout to left ended the game, redeeming Denton after his awful eighth inning.
“I’m sitting in the dugout watching our guys go out and put four on the board, and obviously I came into the dugout thinking I needed to go back out and get the job done if we get the lead here,” Denton said. “Blaze’s home run gave me confidence after that first inning.”