The team won their home opener on April 4 against Western Michigan University 4-3.
“We’ve been on the road for a long time,” center fielder Tim Ryan said. “We’ve played some good competition but it feels good to be home (and get) our first win in front of a home crowd.”
On March 28, OU lost to WMU 3-2. The beginning of last week’s game foreshadowed a similar result the first two innings. In the third inning however, Ryan began a three-run streak with a double.
Hits by Ryan, catcher Jake Morton, third baseman Mike Carson and designated hitter Robby Enslen brought in runs by left fielder Trent Drumheller, Ryan and Carson to give Oakland the lead.
In the fourth inning, Ryan singled and later scored what turned out to be the winning run on an error by the WMU second baseman.
Coming off a loss and facing the same team for the home opener became a lesson in mental toughness.
“We just tried to keep a good positive attitude going. Western is a good team, they put the pressure on you,” Ryan said. “We just tried to stay positive and keep getting better every day.”
In addition, the six OU pitchers walked no WMU hitters and only three WMU hits were allowed in the last five innings. Jake Paulson received his first pitching career victory and Russell Luxton pitched the save in the ninth.
“It meant a lot pitching that last inning,” Luxton said. “Last week at western I was pitching the last inning and I ended up losing it.”
The win against WMU was due to learning from past mistakes and adapting to overcome them according to Musachio
“We played smart because we made adjustments form this past weekend especially on the mound,” Head coach John Musachio said. “I think our guys were really mindful of the lessons they learned earlier in the season today.”
Series against Oral Roberts
Oakland started the series against ORU strong, shutting out the Golden Eagles 2-0. Senior pitcher Jeff Gorecki carried the Golden Grizzlies through 8.1 innings on April 6, recording a season-high five strikeouts and allowing just three hits.
Gorecki’s efforts earned him the Summit League Pitcher of the Week award—the first time he has won the award in his career.
Junior Mike Carson came through with the crucial hit in the third inning, blasting the eventual game-winning two RBI single. Carson’s two RBIs marked the only runs pushed across the plate in the entire game.
On April 7, Oakland carried it’s momentum into the second game, scoring five runs on five hits in the first inning. Freshman Spencer Marentette had a two RBI double to add to the three RBI singles by Carson, junior Nolan Jacoby and senior John Estes respectively.
Amidst two long rain delays, ORU strung together 13 unanswered runs to secure the victory.
Sunday brought a doubleheader between the two Summit League rivals. In the first game, Oakland built a lead that was never relinquished with a solo home run by Carson in the first inning. Oakland built its lead to 4-0 with a run in the third and two in the fourth on a two-RBI single by Marentette.
Sophomore Hayden Fox and junior Russell Luxton combined to only allow a single run over nine innings to give Oakland the 4-1 victory.
In the series finale, Oakland outhit the Golden Eagles 11-8, but lost the nightcap 8-6.
“I’m very proud of the way that our guys competed this weekend,” Musachio said. “Hayden Fox pitched very well and Luxton came in and shut the door against a very good hitting team.”
Jacoby notched a RBI single in the top of the fifth to give OU a 5-4 lead. However, ORU answered in the bottom of the inning with a grand slam to take the lead for good.
The series split marked the first time in school history that OU has won two games in a series with the Golden Eagles.
The series snapped ORU’s streak of 39 consecutive home victories, which was the longest in the nation and the second time the Golden Eagles has been shut out by a conference opponent.
Oakland continues the season with a matchup against local rival Central Michigan today at 3 p.m. at the OU baseball field.