April 17, 2009
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Freshman Matt LaMothe tossed seven solid innings, scattering five hits and allowing three runs, two earned, and senior Rob Merkle went 3-for-5 with three RBIs as the Oakland University baseball team (11-19, 4-5 Summit) held off a late IPFW rally to take a 7-6 victory in the opening game of the four-game series between the two teams on Friday at Mastodons Field.
Oakland jumped ahead on an RBI double by Merkle in the top of the second inning and pushed its lead to 2-0 in the third on a solo homer by senior Justin Wilson. The Mastodons (7-25, 0-9 Summit) knotted the game on a two-run homer by Devin Taylor in the fourth inning, and pulled ahead 3-2 on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth.
However, OU tied the game in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by senior Dan Ryan, and pulled ahead 4-3 on an RBI single by senior Taylor Traub. The Golden Grizzlies added two more runs on a two-run single by Merkle to take a 6-3 lead after the seventh.
OU scored a crucial seventh run in the eighth inning on an RBI double by Traub to pull ahead 7-3. The Mastodons began a furious rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring three runs and putting the potential tying run on base; but the Golden Grizzlies were able to shut the door on the Mastodons before the tying run could advance into scoring position.
LaMothe picked up his fourth win of the season. Junior Andrew Estes picked up his second save of the season after going 0.2 innings and allowing one hit and walking one. Wilson, Traub, sophomore Scott Sexton, and senior Andrew Stafford all had two hits in the OU win.
The Golden Grizzlies and Mastodons will continue their series with a noon doubleheader on Saturday.