April 4, 2012
ROCHESTER, Mich. – Tim Ryan was 3-for-5 and scored the winning run as Oakland (4-21) beat Western Michigan (14-11) by a score of 4-3 on Wednesday in the home opener at the OU Baseball Field. A large crowd was in attendance after the Golden Grizzlies began the year with 24 consecutive road games.
“Being at home makes all the difference in the world psychologically,” said Oakland head coach John Musachio. “It was a nice crowd today and our guys were excited to play in front of them. It helped to know that we had the last at-bat if we needed it.”
Oakland fell behind early, but turned the game around with a three-run third inning. Trent Drumheller started the rally with a leadoff walk and moved into scoring position on a double by Ryan. Jake Morton’s single drove in Drumheller and Mike Carson delivered an RBI-double to tie the game. Robby Enslen put Oakland in the lead with a two-out single that scored Carson.
After taking the lead, OU stayed aggressive and added a run in the fourth. Ryan singled and later scored what turned out to be the winning run on an error by the WMU second baseman.
Both team finished with 10 hits as Carson and Enslen both had two hits to join Ryan’s multiple hit effort. Vinnie Booker, Ryan McMillan and Troy Forton each had two hits for WMU. However, Oakland was able to advantage of five walks from the Broncos pitching staff. Conversely, the six pitchers that threw for OU did not issue a single walk in the game.
“Our pitchers did a great job,” said Musachio. “We threw strikes and didn’t walk anybody. That helped us get ahead of their hitters. I also think our hitters did well with some good, blue-collar approaches. I think it was a great formula.”
Reliever Jake Paulson (1-0) earned his first career victory, while Russell Luxton (2) came in for the save in the ninth. The six OU pitchers combined to strikeout six batters and allowed just three hits over the final five innings.
Starter Nick Bradley (1-2) suffered the loss for WMU.
The Golden Grizzlies return to action and start Summit League play with a four-game weekend series at Oral Roberts. The league series will open on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.