Oakland softball sweeps Cleveland State in mid-week series

Katie LaDuke, Managing Editor

Due to inclement weather, what was supposed to be a home game was moved to Madonna University, where Oakland softball hosted Cleveland State University for a three-game series on April 4-5. Oakland swept the series and improved its record to 5-4 in the Horizon League and 12-14 overall.

“We really felt the energy boost coming into this series,”  freshman shortstop Jamie Squires said.  “No matter what happened, we stayed up, and nobody fell down.”

In the first game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Haley Zemmer started in the circle and went all seven innings, giving up only one earned run. This complete game marks Zemmer’s third win of the season.

“Being confident on the mound is the most important thing,” she said. “For my game, it’s just knowing my team has my back, and it definitely showed this series.”

At the plate, Lyndsay Hill, Mikayela Marciniak, Devon Smith, Squires and Rachel Zerona each recorded one run. Oakland got on the board first due to a CSU error in the second inning. CSU was quick to answer in the top of the third inning by putting up its lone run of the game. In the sixth inning, the Golden Grizzlies tacked on four more runs with a home run from Squires and three RBI singles. Oakland topped CSU 5-1.

“The biggest turning point of the game was [Squires’] home run,” Zemmer said. “It was a big switch that helped us get more runs and to push through.”

Game two of the doubleheader turned out to be a five-inning, 15-hit slugfest for the Golden Grizzlies. Oakland struck first with three runs in the first inning, followed by a five-run second inning.  Three runs in the third inning and four runs in the fourth gave Oakland a 15-run total. Marciniak led the offensive charge with five RBIs, and Squires recorded four of her own. Starting pitcher Erin Kownacki held Cleveland State to just one run on five hits to get the 15-1 win.

“I think once we just started going, the hits wouldn’t stop,” Squires said. “We felt the flow, and we just kept going. When I hit [the home runs], I thought they were just going to be fly outs, but the wind was on my side.”

In the final game of the series, Oakland scored first. In the second inning, Brittney Miller led off with a double and eventually scored on a CSU error. Cleveland State quickly responded with three runs in the third inning. However, the Black and Gold pulled ahead 5-3 in the bottom of the third with RBIs from Miller and Lauren Mead, along with two runs off of Viking errors. One more Oakland run in the fourth inning came from a sacrifice fly by Hill to score Zerona.

CSU added a final run late in the game, bringing its total to four runs. After coming in relief for Kaley Waalkes in the third inning, Kownacki picked up her second win of the series with a final score of 6-4.

“I think we got closer as a team, we’re working really hard, and I think we are going to win this weekend,” Zemmer said.