Baseball tops EMU in home-opener slugfest
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On Tuesday, April 18, the baseball team was finally able to open the home season on its own field with a single game against Eastern Michigan University. The Golden Grizzlies came out on top 14-11 to move their overall record to 7-26.
“Playing on the road for 32 straight games took its toll on our guys,” said co-head coach Colin Kaline. “It is difficult enough to be a student-athlete, but then adding in constantly being away from home and class, and all the difficulties multiply. The team has handled the circumstances well, but it has definitely affected us as a whole.”
Starting on the mound, Aaron Dehn went three innings while picking up two strikeouts. Austin Sherry, Nick Parr, and Jared Burkert made appearances out of the bullpen in relief. Sherry recorded five strikeouts, and Parr gathered four strikeouts, allowing just one hit in his two innings of work.
Offensively, four players had a multi-RBI game. Zach Sterry led the team with four RBIs, three of which came off a home run, and Drew Demumbrum brought in three runs off his first career home run. Tyler Pagano and Tyler Trovinger each added two runs of their own. Emerson Misch, Tyler Janish and Matt DiLeo each recorded one RBI.
“I felt the energy was great during the game,” Sterry said. “We were all so excited to play at home, finally.”
EMU was first to get on the board with three runs off of two hits in the top of the first inning. The Eagles’ runs came from a three-run home run. Oakland quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning by putting up five runs. Pagano brought in Misch to score the first run on a sacrifice fly. DiLeo then brought in Janish on an RBI single. For the finishing touches of the inning, Demumbrum’s home run brought in three runs to push the score to 5-3 after just one inning of play.
In the second inning, EMU struck again with one run off of an RBI double. The Golden Grizzlies came back with three runs from Sterry’s home run. The Black and Gold continued to lead with a 8-4 score after two innings.
“Our offense has been playing extremely well the last couple of weekends,” Sterry said. “If we can keep it going and pitch it a little bit better, we are going to make a great run in the Horizon League late in the season.”
Coming back in the third inning, the Eagles scored two runs off of two hits that were unanswered by the Oakland offense in the second half of the inning. EMU also brought in three runs off of a home run in the fourth inning. Oakland again did not respond in the later part of the inning. EMU led for the first time with the score at 9-8.
Jumping to the sixth inning, EMU added to their lead with one more run from an RBI double. In the bottom of the inning, Oakland recorded three runs from a walked in run, a sacrifice fly from Pagano, and an RBI single from Trovinger. The Golden Grizzlies also got a free pass in the seventh inning, as the Eagles walked in Misch. Oakland regained the lead 12-10.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Eagles capitalized on two Oakland errors and brought in their final run of the game, giving them a total of 11 runs on the day. The Black and Gold came back in the second part of the inning with an RBI double from Misch to score Ben Hart. Janish then followed with a single to bring Misch in for the second run of the inning. Oakland held on to win with a final score of 14-11.
“The offense has really started to come around the past few weeks,” Kaline said. “I don’t think it’s a matter of improvement – the ability and talent has been there the whole season – just a matter of the guys gaining confidence and performing. The guys have put a ton of work in, and it is nice to see it paying off for them down the stretch.”
The Golden Grizzlies look to take on Milwaukee for a doubleheader at home on April 21 starting at 12 p.m. (ET).