Oakland Completes Season with a Bang

The Oakland University baseball team completed the 2000 season with a 28-32 overall record and the Golden Grizzlies finished second in the Mid-Continent Conference at 17-9.

The OU baseball team opened up the year by traveling to Georgia in February for its spring training trip. Oakland opened up with three games against Georgia Tech February 19-21. OU dropped all three games to the Yellowjackets, 9-1, 9-5 and 22-3. In the three-game series catcher Chuck Van Robays went 4-8 with one run scored, two doubles and three RBI. Record: 0-3.

The Golden Grizzlies then faced Auburn February 22 and lost by the final score of 8-4. Kip Harris led the way for Oakland going 2-4 with one double and one RBI. Record: 0-4.

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Chuck Van Robays

On February 23 Oakland dropped one to Georgia College, 6-3. Record: 0-5.

OU then fell to Kennesaw State by the final score of 3-1. Record: 0-6.

The Golden Grizzlies received their first two wins of the season against West Georgia University February 26-27. OU won the first game 12-10 and the second game 5-4. In game one Casey Caid went 3-4 with two runs scored and three RBI to lead Oakland. Junior transfer Rob Brockman went 3-3 with four runs scored and three RBI. Gordon Hosbein was the winning pitcher for OU in game one and Kurt Spyke got the "W" in the second game. Record: 2-6.

Oakland next faced Georgia College February 29 for the second time on the spring trip. OU fell 3-2 to GC. Senior Sean Boesch pitched seven innings, giving up two earned runs and had four strikeouts. Record: 2-7.

The Golden Grizzlies finished up the Georgia trip with a doubleheader against Kennesaw State. OU split with KSU losing the first game by the score of 14-6 and winning the second game 7-3. Sophomore Nick DiPonio led the Golden Grizzlies in the second game going 3-4 with two doubles, one run scored and one RBI. Record: 3-8.

Oakland returned to Michigan to take two of three games from Eastern Michigan March 17-18. In game one, junior transfer Jeremy Isherwood went 3-5 with a double and three runs scored to help defeat the Eagles by the score of 9-6. Record: 5-9.

The Golden Grizzlies split with the University of Pittsburgh on the road March 22. In game one Oakland was victorious by the score of 9-4 as Brockman went 4-4 with one home run, one run scored and three RBI. OU lost game two by the score of 7-1. Record: 6-10.

OU won its next five games sweeping Siena Heights in a doubleheader, Bowling Green in a single game and Mid-Continent Conference opponent Youngstown State University in a twinbill. Record: 11-10.

Against Siena Heights March 25 OU recorded a total of 52 runs as the Golden Grizzlies defeated SHU 26-1 and 26-3. Kurt Spyke and Jeff Gatch were the winning pitchers for OU. Van Robays and Kip Harris each had six hits in the two games.

OU followed up the scoring-fest with a defeat of Bowling Green, 11-8, March 28. The Golden Grizzlies scored three runs in the top of the eighth to break an 8-8 tie. Justin Robertson was the pitcher of record for OU. Van Robays led the way for Oakland offensively as he went 2-5 with two runs scored and four RBI.

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Sean Boesch

Oakland opened up Mid-Continent Conference play with 8-2 and 7-6 victories over Youngstown State April 1. Senior Sean Boesch threw a complete game in the opener for his second victory of the year. Spyke also picked up his second win of the season in game two. Offensively Jeremy Isherwood led the way for OU going 4-8 with three runs scored and three RBI.

The Golden Grizzlies traveled to Ohio State April 5 and fell to the Buckeyes 12-2. Van Robays led the Golden Grizzlies once again going 3-for-4 with one RBI. Gatch was the losing pitcher falling to 1-2 on the year. Record: 11-11.

Oakland hit the road April 8-9 for a four-game series at Western Illinois. OU dropped three out of four games to the Mid-Con opponent, 3-4, 2-3, 4-3, 9-10. In Oakland’s victory Gatch was the winning pitcher and nine different Golden Grizzlies recorded hits. Record: 12-14.

Oakland returned home to face Central Michigan April 12. The Golden Grizzlies lost both games of the doubleheader to the Chippewas 18-6 and 7-1. Record: 12-16.

Next up for the Golden Grizzlies was Mid-Continent Conference favorites Oral Roberts April 15-16. OU was swept in the four-game series with the Golden Eagles 16-8, 9-7, 12-6 and 11-5. Record: 12-20.

On the road April 18, Oakland fell to Detroit by the score of 7-6. The Golden Grizzlies scored two runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game at six apiece, but the Titans managed one in the bottom for the victory. Jason Roberts fell to 0-2 with the loss. Record: 12-21.

The Golden Grizzlies traveled to Central Michigan April 19 to face the Chippewas for the second time in 2000. CMU defeated the Golden Grizzlies 12-0 and 9-7. Record: 12-23.

Oakland followed with a sweep of Mid-Con opponent IUPUI in a four-games series in Rochester. In game one, Justin Robertson pitched a complete game shutout, giving up one hit and he had five strikeouts. He faced the minimum 21 batters in a seven inning game as the Golden Grizzlies won 5-0. In game three Brockman hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth to lead the Golden Grizzlies past the Jaguars by the score of 9-2. Record: 16-23.

On April 26 OU hosted Bowling Green and dropped an 11-7 decision to the Falcons. Isherwood led the Golden Grizzlies going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI. Record: 16-24.

Oakland traveled to Chicago State for a four-game series April 29-30. The Golden Grizzlies recorded victories in three of four games against the conference opponent. Record: 19-25.

On May 2, OU traveled to Ann Arbor to face Michigan. The Wolverines edged Oakland by the score of 3-2. OU’s Gordon Hosbein pitched six innings, giving up five hits, three runs and struck out five in the loss. Record: 19-26.

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Jason Roberts

The Golden Grizzlies continued on their road trip with a stop in South Bend, Indiana to face Notre Dame in a doubleheader May 3. The Fighting Irish swept OU by the score of 9-3 in the first game and 5-3 in the second. Record: 19-28.

Oakland then traveled on to Valparaiso, Indiana to take on conference opponent Valparaiso. The Golden Grizzlies swept the Crusaders in the four-game series. In the first game Boesch would receive the win pitching six innings, striking out five and giving up three earned runs. In the second game OU’s Erik Swanson pitched five innings for the win and struck out nine batters. Record: 23-28.

On May 10 Oakland faced its third Big 10 opponent of the season Michigan State in East Lansing. The Spartans defeated OU by the score of 6-5. Record: 23-29.

The Golden Grizzlies clinched second place in the Mid-Continent Conference as they took three out of four games against Southern Utah May 12-13. With the weekend series, OU wrapped up the regular-season schedule. In the four game series with Southern Utah, Harris went 10-16 with two game-winning home runs, five home runs total, seven runs scored and 12 RBI. He single handedly led OU to the second place finish in the Mid-Con with the two game winning home runs. Record: 26-30.

The Mid-Continent Conference tournament took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma May 18-21. The Golden Grizzlies defeated Western Illinois in the first round by the score of 5-3. Boesch received the win pitching 8.2 innings, gave up 11 hits, two earned runs and recorded three strikeouts. The Golden Grizzlies defeated Youngstown State in the second round by the score of 9-7. With the win, Swanson improved to 4-3 on the season by pitching 7.2 innings. He struck out four Penguin batters. Isherwood and Harris each had homers for the Golden Grizzlies. Record: 28-30.

Oral Roberts defeated Oakland by the score of 20-1 to send the Golden Grizzlies into the losers bracket of the Mid-Con Championship. The Golden Grizzlies were eliminated by Southern Utah as they fell to the Thunderbirds by the score of 11-1 on the final day. Record: 28-32.

Harris led the team in 2000 with a .368 batting average, while DiPonio came in second batting .354. Caid hit .335 and Brockman and Van Robays followed with .333 and .329 averages, respectively.

The Golden Grizzlies broke numerous team and individual school records this season. Brockman set a school record for home runs in a season with 14, while Harris and Caid tied for second on the team with twelve apiece and Jeremy Isherwood followed with nine home runs.

DiPonio set a school record for most doubles in a season with 22 and Harris came in a close second with 20. DiPonio also set a school record for most runs scored in a season with 52. Harris set school records for most hits in a season with 77 and most total bases Van Robays and Isherwood set a school record for most games played in a season with 60.

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Chris Kimball

The Golden Grizzlies also set numerous team records for the 2000 season including most games with 60, most at bats with 1894, most hits with 559, most doubles with 120, most home runs with 62 and most strikeouts by OU pitchers with 342.

The coaches gave out team awards at their end of the season banquet. OU’s top pitcher award went to Boesch. He had a 6-5 record with a 3.98 ERA, 83.2 innings pitched and 49 to 15 strikeout to walk ratio. Brockman received the top hitter award batting .333 with 14 homers and 43 RBI.

Caid received the top defensive player award for his role in center field. He had a .964 fielding percentage with 102 putouts in 112 chances. The most improved player award went to Justin Robinson. He had 5-3 record with a 5.96 ERA, 48.1 innings pitched and 34 strike outs.

The scholar athlete award went to Erik Crossley with his 3.63 GPA in mechanical engineering. Van Robays was named MVP and also received the Golden Grizzly leadership award. This award is considered the OU’s most prestigious award and will now be called the "Chuck Van Robays" Leadership award.

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Erik Crossley

Brockman was named all-Mid-Continent Conference first team and Van Robays made the second team. OU’s Boesch was named to the Mid-Continent Conference all-Tournament team.

Oakland junior Erick Swanson signed with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, June 14 after being drafted in the 12th round. He reported to Everett, Washington and the Pioneer League. The 6-5, 215 pound lefthanded Swanson was 4-3 overall with a 5.06 ERA. He recorded 16 appearances, six starts, one complete game and one shutout. The Berkely native gave up 44 hits, 43 runs, 30 earned runs, walked 38 and struck out a team-leading 60 batters in 2000.

Van Robays signed a contract with the Johnstown Johnnies of the Frontier League (Independent Professional League). Boesch signed a contract with the Chillicothe Paints of the Frontier League (Independent Professional League).

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