Baseball snaps nine-game losing streak, drops series to Milwaukee


Photo Courtesy of OU Athletics

Bryce Konitzer pitching against Dayton. Konitzer struck out 10 batters in the 8-5 win against Milwaukee Saturday, April 3.

The Oakland University baseball team lost their series to the Milwaukee Panthers 3-1 last weekend at the Oakland Baseball Field.

Game one, according to Head Coach Jordon Banfield, “wasn’t a game.”

The Panthers put up 10 runs in the second inning and the game was pretty much over from that point. OU dropped the first game 15-2, where freshman utilityman Reagan Paulina hit his second home run of the season in the lopsided loss.

Banfield was disappointed in his team’s performance.

“We gave it to them right off the bat,” Banfield said. “It was over in the second inning —  really disappointing. [It was] never competitive.”

Game two was much more competitive. Oakland was leading 4-3 in the sixth inning when Milwaukee came back with four runs. Despite 12 hits by the Golden Grizzlies, including five players with multi-hit games, the Panthers swept Friday’s doubleheader.

The Golden Grizzlies left 11 men on base — Banfield was proud of the way his team competed, despite the loss.

“We were in it the whole way,” he said. “We didn’t throw enough strikes, we walked a bunch of people. We let them back in it, and eventually gave it to them.”

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Golden Grizzlies once again faced a big deficit early. Bryce Konitzer allowed four runs in the first inning. He settled in after that, only allowing a single run and striking out 10 over 5.2 innings of work.

Offensively, the Golden Grizzlies got it going early. Cam Post had a big game with an RBI single and a two-run home run. The Grizzlies would score eight unanswered runs and snap a nine-game losing skid with an 8-5 victory.

Banfield was pleased with his team’s pitching performance in game three.

“We gave up four in the first, which has been a problem, turning a one or a two into a crooked number,” Banfield said. “Then [Konitzer] just competed his tail off. He kept us in it, kept giving us chances — we got some big hits. Then when we put Hayden [Nierman] in for a short stint, nobody can hit him. He is as unhittable as there is anywhere, and he shut the door.”

The series finale was a slugfest right from the start. OU fell behind once again, this time only by one. Although they answered right back, with Post hitting a double into the left-center gap. Then Michael Stygles nearly homered, hitting a ball off the center field wall for a double of his own. Post scored on the play to make it 2-1 Golden Grizzlies. They had an opportunity for more, but left the bases loaded.

The game was back and forth from there. It was 14-12 Milwaukee when Jared Miller got OU back within a run with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.

The game was called due to darkness after the eighth inning. Banfield was understandably upset after the game.

“[It is] definitely still lighter than when we finished the game yesterday,” Banfield said. “Our guy hit a home run 30 seconds before, so obviously you could see. I don’t really know, I obviously made my thoughts known, [and] I stand by those thoughts.”

Despite the controversial ending to the game, Banfield said his team had chances to make a statement throughout.

“We gave them runs early in the game,” he said. “We should have won that game by [about] five but we didn’t. But our guys kept competing, and I’m proud of them.”

The Golden Grizzlies’ [9-18, 3-13 HL] next series will be against the Valparaiso Crusaders. Game one will take place Friday, Apr. 9 at 2 p.m. at the Oakland Baseball Field.