Softball concludes transition season

A season of change for the Oakland University softball team ended last weekend when the Golden Grizzlies dropped a pair of games to conference rival IPFW, 8-1 and 4-1.

In the top half of the Sunday doubleheader, OU’s offense was stifled by the Mastodons, who allowed just three hits, including a run-scoring single by Grizzlies senior Erica Lozon in the top of the second inning.

IPFW only had a 4-1 lead after the fourth inning, but their offense put the game out of reach for the Grizzlies with a four-run fifth.

Oakland’s offense threatened in the top of the sixth inning, getting runners in scoring position with just one out, but Mastodons starter Courtney Cronin induced a pop up and a groundout to end the inning.

Sophomore Brittany Doyle took the loss after allowing eight runs (six unearned) on 13 hits. She did have four strikeouts, however.

The nightcap of the softball doubleheader yielded a similar result for OU, as the Grizzlies were once again held to three hits and one run.

OU junior Marisa Everitt struck out six batters and allowed just four runs on four hits, but two of those hits were extremely costly.

Mastodons catcher Kristina Karpun and Cronin both had 2-run home runs, providing all the offense for IPFW.

Much like the first game, OU threatened in its half of the seventh inning.

Senior Katie Dreyer laced a single to score fellow senior Ashley Sullivan with no outs, but IPFW starter Rachel Staschuk struck out the next two batters and forced a pop-up that ended OU’s scoring chance.

“Pitching for IPFW was okay, but we have been working on a new style of hitting this year and at times it has really been effective, but it’s still a learning process. We’re still working on that,” interim head coach Jane Zimmerman said. “We did not hit well this weekend, at all. None of the pitchers we faced were overpowering, we just didn’t hit well.”

Fatigue from travel is another factor that Zimmerman thinks affected her team’s chances this past weekend.

“It was a very long weekend… the bus ride down was long and so we had a little bit of jetlag if you will,” Zimmerman said. “We were tired; it’s been a trying season. We didn’t fare too well and we would’ve rather have done better, but we didn’t.”

OU finished with a 17-37 record for the 2010 campaign, including a 7-14 conference record. Despite the high number in the team’s loss column, Zimmerman saw plenty of positivies.

“People are ready to step up — the freshman have gotten their feet wet so they’re ready to take a more committed role on the team,” Zimmerman said. “The players we have coming in for next year are really bound and determined, and should give those that were starting, the underclassmen, a little competition.”

Zimmerman replaced longtime head coach Glenn McDonald, the winningest coach in program history, in late March and coached the squad to a 6-16 record, including a trio of series wins over IUPUI, South Dakota State and the University of Detroit.

“With everything that did happen with our team this year, it was trying for everyone and difficult at times, and there was a lot of frustrations for everyone, but we worked above them as best we could,” Zimmerman said.

An official decision has not been made in regard to who will coach the team next season, but Zimmeran is prepared for the future and has laid the groundwork to ensure the team will be as well.

“There’s nothing yet that I will be here next year, but I just prepared the team as best I could,” Zimmerman said.

Oakland has 11 recruits already signed to join the team next season.