Preview: Oral Robers Pitching

Oral Roberts has more experience back on their pitching staff than they do in their lineup, including a weekend SP, their best set-up man and their closer, and that experience is showing with a team ERA of 3.38 while the Golden Eagles are holding their opponents to only a .217 BA.

Despite having a talented staff last season, the overall numbers thus far are an improvement over last year's team ERA of 4.29 and .269 BA.

SP's

The #1 SP is JR Jerry Sullivan (RHP – 2-1, 3 starts, 1.74 ERA, 21 IP, 15 H, 8 BB, 16 K, .205 BA, 1 HR), who was very good last season when he was 9-2, 3.88 ERA in 15 starts, 104 IP, 109 H, 25 BB, 108 K, .275 BA, 7 HR.  Sullivan is projected to be the Pitcher of the Year in the Summit Conference and Baseball America has him rated as the #72 college prospect for the draft in June, when he is expected to go in the first five rounds.  His main pitches are a good fastball that sits around 90, a very good changeup and a slider.  Sullivan has been outstanding in his past two starts, allowing 2 R's on 7 H's in 7 2/3 IP against Notre Dame and allowing 1 R on 1 H in 7 IP against Texas-San Antonio.  He has issues with fielding because teams will bunt on him – 11 SAC's allowed and 5 E's in 2008.  Sullivan led the staff in 2008 with five pickoffs and runners were 6-9 on SB's.

The other two SP's are SR RHP Andre Lamontagne and JR RHP Jameson Dunn.  Lamontagne is a familiar name to Fullerton because he started out at Long Beach State, where he threw 40 innings in two seasons before transferring to Oral Roberts.  Lamontagne (0-0, 3.60 ERA, 3 starts, 15 IP, 15 H, 11 BB, 16 K, .250 BA, 1 HR) throws hard with a fastball that touches 95 and sits in the low 90's.  He pitched very well against Rice in his last start, allowing 2 R's on 3 H's in 6 1/3 IP but he also allowed 6 BB's.  In his previous start, Lamontagne allowed 2 R's on 7 H's in 5 IP against Texas-San Antonio.  Control has been an issue for Lamontagne, who allowed 22 BB's in 40 IP in 2008 (2-2, 7.71 ERA, 14 apps, 7 starts, 49 H, 27 K, .316 BA).  HR's have also been an issue because Lamontagne gave up 10 HR's in only 40 IP last season.  Dunn (1-1, 5.56 ERA, 3 apps, 2 starts, 11 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 10 K) pitched well in his last start against Washington State, allowing 0 R's, 6 H's and 3 BB's in 5 1/3 IP.  Dunn has struggled with consistency, both this year (allowing 6 R's in 3 IP in his previous start against Texas-San Antonio) and last season (2-1, 8.62 ERA, 16 IP, 19 H, 15 BB, 17 K, .302 BA).

Bullpen

The relievers have been one of the main reasons for Oral Roberts getting off to a 7-2 start.  Leading the way has been SR RHP Mark Serrano (4-0, 2.25 ERA, 6 apps, 12 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 17 K, .098 BA, 1 HR) who has been lights out coming into games in the middle innings and holding down the fort.  He has been outstanding.  Serrano was also very good in 2008 – 4-1, 3.09 ERA, 2 saves, 21 IP, 7 starts, 67 IP, 56 HG, 23 BB, 52 K, .231 BA, 3 HR.  He struggled with holding baserunners last season, allowing 10-12 on SB's.  Serrano can pitch for several innings and it wouldn't be a surprise if he was moved into the weekend rotation at some point this season. 

The closer for the Golden Eagles is SR RHP T.J. Kelly, who has gotten off to a slow start in allowing 3 R's on 5 H's and 1 BB in 4 1/3 IP in 3 apps with one save.  Kelly had 10 saves in 2008, when he was 2-1, 4.01 ERA in 24 apps, 34 IP, 37 H, 12 BB, 31 K, .272 BA, 1 HR.   He is a big guy with a good fastball.

The only LHP on the pitching staff is situational lefty JR Brett Carroll, who has made only one appearance this year, facing one batter.  Carroll made 11 apps last season with 6 1/3 IP.  Other relievers likely to be seen are FR RHP Drew Bowen (0-0, 2.16 ERA, 4 apps, 8 IP, 4 H, 7 BB, 7 K), who has a fastball that sits around 90, JC transfer RHP Jeff Burleson (2 apps, 1 start, 5.40 ERA, 5 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K) and JC transfer RHP Chandler Griffin (2 apps, 1 2/3 IP, 0 ER).