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Baseball’s Kaline and Healey get first win as co-head coaches in series finale

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Baseball’s Kaline and Healey get first win as co-head coaches in series finale

In the three-game series season opener for Oakland baseball, the Golden Grizzlies won the third game and ended the series with a 1-2 record.

In the three-game series season opener for Oakland baseball, the Golden Grizzlies won the third game and ended the series with a 1-2 record.

Nowshin Chowdhury // Archived

In the three-game series season opener for Oakland baseball, the Golden Grizzlies won the third game and ended the series with a 1-2 record.

Nowshin Chowdhury // Archived

Nowshin Chowdhury // Archived

In the three-game series season opener for Oakland baseball, the Golden Grizzlies won the third game and ended the series with a 1-2 record.

Katie LaDuke, Staff Reporter

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Over the weekend, Oakland baseball headed down to Nashville, Tennessee, for a three-game series against Lipscomb University. The Golden Grizzlies finished their opening weekend series with a 1-2 record.

“I’m very pleased with how we played over the weekend,” co-head coach Colin Kaline said. “It was three very good baseball games . . . I’m very proud of the guys bouncing back after losing two close games and competing in the third game to get our first win. The effort and intensity the guys gave was incredible.”

In the first game on Friday, Feb. 17, Jake Lee went six innings in the circle, throwing a career-high eight strikeouts. Offensively, Zach Sterry led the team, going three-for-four at the plate with two RBIs from a double and a home run.

Ultimately, the Black and Gold fell to the Bison 7-3 after a three-run seventh inning put Lipscomb ahead of Oakland.

“This season, I’m trying to be more consistent and get deeper into ballgames,” Lee said. “This weekend, I thought we played very well as a team. We were right there with Lipscomb, who is projected to win their conference. We were very close to taking two out of three, even sweeping the series. After that last game, all of us thought we were definitely the better team.

Tyler Palm started on the mound for the second game in the series and went six innings with five strikeouts. With Lipscomb scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning, the Golden Grizzlies came back with runs in the fourth and fifth innings from Matt DiLeo and Myles Zilinsky.

However, the Bisons scored again in the sixth inning, finalizing the score at 3-2.

For the final game of the series, Nick Parr was the starting pitcher and went 5.1 innings, striking out a career-high seven batters to secure his first career win.

Over the first three innings, Oakland’s offense put up 10 runs. Sterry started the offensive surge with his second home run of the season and ended the game with two more RBIs.

Mike McGee led the Golden Grizzlies with a team high of four RBIs, with Tyler Pagano also adding three runs to the board. Oakland came out on top of Lipscomb with a final score of 16-11.

The offensive explosion that led to the win in the final game of the series marked Jacke Healey and Colin Kaline’s first win as co-head coaches.

“It was great to see the offensive numbers on Sunday after a very tough loss on Saturday in that one-run game,” assistant coach Hayden Fox said.  “[The offense] bounced back in a great way to show the whole team that not only can we score runs, but we can score a lot of runs and score a lot of runs late in the game.”

In addition to the team’s offensive efforts, Fox was also impressed with the pitching staff this weekend.

“I think the pitching staff did a phenomenal job this weekend, especially our starting three pitchers who stepped up in a big way for our team,” Fox said.  “One of the biggest things was for these pitchers to be able to go six innings. Being able to do that early in the season is a very helpful thing to have for our bullpen.”

Sterry said he is feeling confident about the team’s abilities after the weekend.

“The most challenging part of starting a new season is getting our confidence up,” he said. “Usually we come to these bigger schools that are regional teams that have been very good in the past. [This weekend,] I thought we proved a lot about how good we can really be . . . If we clean up some of those mistakes we made, then we’re going to be a really dangerous team come Horizon League time.”

The Golden Grizzlies remain in Tennessee for a two-game series against East Tennessee State University. The games will be played at 3 p.m. ET on both Tuesday, Feb. 21 and Wednesday, Feb. 22.

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Baseball’s Kaline and Healey get first win as co-head coaches in series finale