The Oral Roberts baseball team compiled one of the most historic seasons in program history in 2023 after reaching the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, for the first time since 1978.
The Golden Eagles, who became the third No. 4 seed in NCAA history to advance to the College World Series, reached the postseason after claiming their 21st Summit League Championship title. Making their 30th NCAA Regional appearance, 18th since 2001, ORU swept the Stillwater Regional as they defeated No. 11 overall seed Oklahoma State, Washington and Dallas Baptist. The Golden Eagles then rallied to take the final two of three on the road against Oregon in the Eugene Super Regional to punch their ticket to Omaha.
At the College World Series, a three-run ninth inning homer from Blaze Brothers propelled ORU to a 6-5 victory over TCU in the opening game. The Golden Eagles then fell in a heartbreaker to No. 2 Florida, 5-4, before seeing their 2023 campaign come to a close in an elimination game against TCU.
Under the guidance of head coach Ryan Folmar, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Mike Martin National Coach of the Year, ORU went 52-14 and recorded a 23-1 mark in Summit League play. The 52 victories were a program record (DI-era) and marked the first 50-win season since 2004.
In its final 48 games, ORU went 42-6 and set a program record (DI-era) with 21 consecutive wins from April 23-June 4. The Golden Eagles finished the year ranked inside the Top 8 in every national poll, including a No. 5 ranking by Collegiate Baseball, which matched the highest in program history.
On a team that was loaded with talent, closer Cade Denton and center fielder Jonah Cox shined the brightest as the duo was recognized as consensus All-Americans. The duo became the first Golden Eagles since Mark Serrano in 2009 to earn multiple All-America honors in a single season.
Denton was also tabbed as the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, which recognized the nation’s top reliever, and the Summit League Pitcher of the Year. The junior, who led the nation and matched a program record with 15 saves, logged a 1.83 ERA and struck out 86 batters in 64 innings of work. In a program-best 35 appearances, Denton held opponents to a .211 batting average.
Cox, who was named the Summit League Player/Newcomer of the Year, led the nation and set a program/League record with 114 hits. The junior topped the Golden Eagles with a .412 average and also registered 11 homers, 16 doubles, eight triples, 68 RBI and 28 stolen bases. Cox also compiled a 47-game hit streak during the season, which ranked as the third longest in NCAA history.
In the Summit League, the Golden Eagles racked up plenty of postseason accolades as the team had a conference-best 13 players named to the All-League teams.
Senior first baseman Jake McMurray tallied his third consecutive first team honor, while Cox, Matt Hogan, Drew Stahl, Jakob Hall and Denton joined him on the squad. Shortstop Mac McCroskey, who was the named the Defensive Player of the Year, headlined the second team, which included Jacob Godman, Holden Breeze, Justin Quinn, Brooks Fowler and Harley Gollert. Brothers rounded out the All-League honors after being named to the honorable mention team.
The 2023 campaign was truly historic for an ORU squad that is no stranger to winning as it entered the season ranked sixth all-time in NCAA history with a .652 winning percentage.
At the College World Series, a three-run ninth inning homer from Blaze Brothers propelled ORU to a 6-5 victory over TCU in the opening game.