CEDAR CITY — After dropping an 8-4 decision in the first game of Friday's doubleheader with Oral Roberts, Southern Utah bounced back for a 6-0 win over the Golden Eagles in their second meeting of the day behind a complete game shutout from Justin Neubauer.
The junior lefty took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up his lone hit of the contest to help the Thunderbirds improve to 10-24 on the year.
"ORU has been the class of this conference for a long time", said SUU interim head coach Clayton Carson. "Anytime you can get a win against them you know you are where you want to be at."?
The Golden Eagles quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the early game after third baseman Jose Trevino drove in two runs with a triple to right center and Brandon Healy added an RBI single to give ORU three runs in the top of the first.
Southern Utah then trimmed the deficit to one in the following inning when with the bases loaded Dave Ricker put SUU on the board by hitting a ball to the left side of the infield that was scooped up by the third baseman and thrown to second advancing the runner and resulting in a ground out RBI. The second baseman then turned to throw to first, in an attempt at a double play, but the ball deflected off the base runner allowing Tariq Staton to round third and add a second run to bring the score to 3-2.
Oral Roberts increased its advantage by plating another run in the third inning, but Southern Utah tallied two more scores in its half of the frame to even the score at four runs apiece. Mitchell Kauweloa recorded a ground out RBI and Bo Cuthbertson scored on an error to bring the game to a 4-4 tie.
The visitors would then pull away however, collecting four runs over the next two innings and holding SUU scoreless over the last six to set the final score at 8-4.
Senior right-hander Joe Spring (2-1) earned his second win of the season for ORU after striking out seven batters over six innings of scoreless relief. Kelsey Outram (2-6) lasted just four innings on the mound after surrendering six walks and allowing seven runs, four of which were earned.
Southern Utah built an early lead in the second matchup of the day and then cruised behind the pitching of Neubauer. SUU got on the board in the first inning when Justin Neuhart hit a ball over the Golden Eagle outfielder in left for an RBI double. The T-Birds then added three more runs in the third to extend their lead to four. Staton scored on an error and Kauweloa added a two-run RBI single in the frame to stretch the margin to 4-0. Staton and Kevin Kline each added insurance runs in the fourth and fifth innings to set the final count at 6-0.
"Justin really set the tone in that second game," explained Carson. "He got ahead in the count and was pitching for contact and let the defense play behind him. After we got the lead I knew that he could hold them down."?
Kauweloa led Southern Utah with three RBI while Staton went 4-for-7 at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored. Trevino drove in three runs and scored two more, all of which came during the first game, for Oral Roberts.
With the split the two teams are now tied atop the Summit League standings with identical marks of 4-3 in conference play. Therefore, the winner of Saturday's finale will sit alone in first place in the league ranks. The Thunderbirds and Golden Eagles will square off in Thunderbird
Park tomorrow at 1 p.m.
SALT LAKE CITY — Five different Utes registered hits, including junior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina's eighth double of the year, but the University of Utah softball lost a 9-0 decision to No. 19/15 Oregon in the opener of their Pac-12 Conference series on Friday at Ute Softball Field.
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