Golden Grizzlies Conclude Trying Season

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Kip Harris

The Oakland University baseball team entered the 2001 season with hopes of returning to the conference tournament and maybe winning its first ever tourney title and receiving its first bid to a NCAA regional. With seven starters returning, this goal was not farfetched for OU. Then the season started and the Grizzlies ran into a snowball effect and it just kept coming down. The Golden Grizzlies ended the season with a disappointing 11-43 overall record and 7-19 record in the Mid-Con.

Seniors Kip Harris and Adam Sokoll ended the season on a positive note as both were named second team All-Mid-Continent Conference.

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Adam Sokoll

Oakland opened up the season with a six-game road trip in the state of Georgia February 24-March 2. First up for the Golden Grizzlies was Georgia State who took three games from OU 5-1, 13-4 and 13-4. OU remained in Atlanta to face the #1 Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech in a two-game series. The #1 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets pounded the Golden Grizzlies 16-0, 19-4. The final game of the Spring Trip ended up in Macon, Georgia as OU dropped its final game to Mercer University 10-3. (0-7)

After a tough first trip Oakland traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky on March 10 to face Western Kentucky in a three-game series. The Golden Grizzlies dropped all three games by scores of 6-2, 4-3 and 25-6. Oakland returned to Michigan and went up the road on March 19 to Mount Pleasent to face Central Michigan who they had never beaten. The Chippewas continued success against the Golden Grizzlies defeating them 8-3 and 7-3. (0-12)

OU brought a 12-game losing streak to the campus of Oakland University as they took on Toledo March 21 and the University of Detroit-Mercy March 22. The Golden Grizzlies dropped the game to Toledo 13-12 thanks to seven free passes by OU pitchers. Oakland finally broke into the win column by splitting with Detroit-Mercy, winning 9-2 and losing 5-1. (1-14)

The Golden Grizzlies remained in the state as they traveled to Ann Arbor to face Michigan March 28. OU’s Brad Morenko picked up his first collegiate victory going the distance against the Wolverines and beating them 3-2. UM responded with a great pitching performance from Rich Hill as Michigan downed Oakland 3-0 in game two. (2-15)

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Rob Brockman

Oakland opened up the conference season with four-time defending champion Oral Roberts March 31 and April 1 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Oral Roberts swept the Golden Grizzlies for the second consecutive year 20-1, 16-1, 5-1 and 5-4. (2-19, 0-4 Mid-Con)

Returning home Oakland welcomed Central Michigan to the OU Baseball Field April 4. CMU downed Oakland for the fourth time of the season 11-0 and 4-3. OU then returned to conference play traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana to face the Jaguars from IUPUI. The Golden Grizzlies won the first two games of the series 8-6 and 14-8, but lost both games on Sunday thanks to seven inning comebacks by IUPUI 7-6 and 6-5. (4-23, 2-6 Mid-Con)

Continuing on the road the Grizzlies invaded the state of Ohio to face Toledo April 10 and Ohio State April 11. Oakland lost another heartbreaker to Toledo 2-1 and fell to the Buckeyes by an 8-2 final. (4-25, 2-6 Mid-Con)

The Golden Grizzlies began a nine-game homestead starting April 14. Chicago State was first on Oakland’s list as the two teams split the four-game series with Oakland winning the second game Saturday 15-8 and Sunday 10-7. OU lost the opening games of the series 11-6 and 12-5. Michigan State came down next and beat the Golden Grizzlies 12-3 Wednesday, April 18. Valparaiso brought a 9-1 Mid-Con record into Rochester and due to rain the two teams played two games with Oakland winning game one 3-2 and dropping game two 11-1. (7-29, 5-9 Mid-Con)

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Jason Roberts

OU hit the road for an eight-game road trip beginning in Cedar City, Utah to face Southern Utah April 27 and April 28. The Thunderbirds had revenge on their mind after Oakland swept them a year ago, and they got it with a sweep of their own winning 12-4, 19-9, 15-3 and 7-0. Detroit-Mercy was next for the Grizzlies April 30. Oakland and Detroit-Mercy split with Oakland winning game one 8-7 and losing game two 12-11. Bowling Green met up with OU next in Bowling Green, Ohio Wednesday, May 2. The Falcons held off the Golden Grizzlies as they came back from a 14-3 deficit to loose 14-13. Bowling Green exploded in the nightcap for a 10-0 victory. (8-36, 5-13 Mid-Con)

Oakland returned to Rochester to face Mid-Con foe Youngstown State May 5 and May 6. The two teams split on Saturday as Oakland lost the opener 12-3 and won game two 8-5. YSU swept Oakland on Sunday 10-6 and exploding for 29 runs in a 29-2 victory, handing Oakland its worst defeat of the season. (9-39, 6-16)

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Nick DiPonio

The Grizzlies hit the road to take on Michigan State (5/8) and Eastern Michigan (5/9). MSU beat Oakland for the second time of the year 6-4 and Oakland picked up the offense against the Eagles downing EMU 20-15. (10-40, 6-16 Mid-Con)

The final weekend of the season came in Rochester versus Western Illinois. The Leathernecks swept Oakland on day one 7-2 and 6-2. The Golden Grizzlies won the third game of the series in dramatic fashion as senior Casey Caid hit a grand slam in the eighth inning for the 7-3 victory. The fourth witnessed two unearned runs for Western Illinois as OU fell 2-1. (11-43, 7-19 Mid-Con)

When the final game was played Oakland didn’t look back. It was a season of crazy mistakes and untimely errors. The only thing you can do in baseball is play on and forget because there is always tomorrow. Sure Oakland had high expectations and was disappointed when they didn’t achieve these goals, but they never quit and no matter what the final records says, the seniors left as champions.

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