Gators prepare for resilient ballclub in Oral Roberts

With both Florida and Oral Roberts completing 9th inning come from behind victories in the opening round of the Men’s College World Series, the two ballclubs are set to face off on Sunday at 7:00 PM EST in the winner’s bracket.

“We’ll enjoy it tonight, but we’re playing obviously a really good Oral Roberts team on Sunday night,” O’Sullivan said after Friday night’s win. “But the goal is to try to win the first two games. Now we’re in position to hopefully do that.”

Following a four-run ninth inning, Oral Roberts recorded their 52nd win of the 2023 season against TCU.

“You’ve just got to give credit to Oral Roberts where credit’s due,” TCU Head Coach Kirk Saarloos said following their loss to the Golden Eagles. “They’ve done it — I watched them in the postseason. They’ve come back. They’re a resilient bunch, an old group. And they put a great swing on the ball in the ninth.”

O’Sullivan plans to take the same approach against Oral Roberts as they did against Virginia.

“I don’t think you manage any differently,” O’Sullivan said on his gameplan for ORU. “I mean, Oral Roberts had a tremendous comeback win against TCU.”

Oral Roberts is led by Ryan Folmar, who’s serving his 11th season as Head Coach of the Golden Eagles.

“I think the biggest take we’ve had from our journey is our group and how resilient they are, how tough they are, how disciplined they are to have an opportunity to be here and compete for a national title,” Folmar said during ORU’s pre-series press conference.

Oral Robert’s holds an impressive .322 batting average, which ranks 5th in the country. The Golden Eagles are one of just seven college baseball teams with an earned run average under 4.0, posting a 3.99 ERA across 564.1 innings.

After tossing their ace Jakob Hall in game one, Oral Robert’s will turn to LHP Harley Gollert against the Gators. The 6-0, 195-pound redshirt senior has worked to a 4.30 ERA in his first season with the Golden Eagles. Gollert has walked 31 batters and struck out 88 in his 88 innings pitched in 2023. The Toronto, Ontario native has posted a 10-1 record in 17 starts this season. His .252 batting average against is a promising sign for the Gators’ offense. The lefty is averaging 1.64 home runs per nine innings, a stat Florida’s offense could expose on Sunday night.

The Gators got back on the practice field on Saturday afternoon at a local high school to get more reps in before the biggest game of Florida’s season.

Ty Evans continued to swing a hot bat during Florida’s batting practice session. I expect to see his name in the starting nine against Oral Roberts.

Dale Thomas, Deric Fabian, and Colby Halter flashed the leather at the hot corner on Saturday afternoon.

With Hurston Waldrep on the mound, Florida is considered heavy favorites over Oral Roberts. The Gators money line is currently set at -290, according to Draft Kings Sportsbook.

“If you are fortunate enough to win Game 1, you have to do everything you possibly can to win Game 2,” Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan said during Florida’s pre-series press conference.

The Gators have a chance to do exactly that on Sunday night on Charles Schwab Field, but they’ll have to fend off the scrapy Golden Eagles.

Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.