To catch up on our college baseball countdown, visit our index page here. One of the more under-reported stories in college baseball is just how dominant Oral Roberts is year after year in the Summit League (and the Mid-Continent Conference, as it was known prior to 2008).
Perhaps some of that is because of the quick two-year hiatus spent as a .500 or so team in the Southland Conference in 2013 and 2014, but it also just could be because it has become so routine that we all just take it for granted and expect it.
The Golden Eagles’ success spans a number of years under a number of head coaches, Larry Cochell and Sunny Golloway among them, but for our discussion, let’s just look at the last ten seasons of competition in the Summit League, omitting those two seasons in the SLC. For the first nine seasons we’ll examine, Rob Walton, now an assistant under Josh Holliday at Oklahoma State, was the head man. In the the most recent season, 2015, Ryan Folmar was at the helm.
In those ten seasons, ORU has been in a regional every year. In five of those years, they’ve won 40 or more games, and in all but one season, they’ve won 36 or more games. In the one season when they didn’t win 36 or more, 2009, they won 33 games and still went 16-2 in conference play, so try telling their conference foes that they were any less great during that campaign.
Their success isn’t just a function of being the best team in their league, though. The talent that has come to campus is impressive as well. Starting with the 2004 season, the program has had at least one player drafted in each MLB Draft, and in all but one season, they’ve had at least two drafted. Then, in some years, they supply a bumper crop to the minor leagues. In 2008, for example, they had eight players drafted.
Heading into 2016, even as they will be without key contributors from 2015 such as two-way star Anthony Sequeira, there’s little reason to believe that the program will slow down any time soon, much to the chagrin of the rest of the Summit League.