April 22, 2011
ROCHESTER, Mich. - Senior Aaron Wick and junior Tim Ryan both went 3-for-5 to lead the Oakland University baseball team (8-20, 2-7) to an 11-5 come-from-behind win over Western Illinois (11-26, 3-6) on Friday in Summit League baseball action at the OU Baseball Field. The Golden Grizzlies outhit the Fighting Leathernecks 14-3.
"I am proud of the resiliency that our team showed on the field today," said Oakland head coach John Musachio. "We had a lot of good at bats and our seniors, like Eric Ogg [who had a key pinch-hit, RBI-double], really led the way for us."
Oakland took the lead in the sixth inning when sophomore Mike Carson grounded to third with the bases loaded, but the throw home was off target, allowing two runs to score. Wick followed with an RBI single through the drawn-in infield and junior Aaron Cieslak's sacrifice fly made it a 7-4 lead for the Golden Grizzlies.
After taking the lead, Oakland never trailed behind a strong pitching effort from senior Mark Leichtman (1-3). The OU right-hander threw seven innings and allowed just three hits and two earned runs, while striking out five batters for his first win of the season. Kyle Bobolts (1) came in to record the final six outs and did not allow a runner to reach base, while recording two strikeouts.
"Mark Leichtman gave us a great effort on the mound today," said Musachio. "He is a pitcher than can get outs even when he is not able to throw his best stuff. That is exactly what he had to do today because of the weather conditions."
The Golden Grizzlies put some distance between themselves and the Leathernecks by tacking on four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. After one run scored on a wild pitch, senior Eric Ogg and Ryan hit back-to-back RBI-doubles. Cieslak followed up with a sacrifice fly to finish his day a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.
After falling behind, Oakland outscored Western Illinois 11-1. The rally started in the third inning where OU scored three runs to make it a 4-3 game. Wick stroked a two-RBI single up the middle to drive in senior Tommy Jablonski and Carson. Wick was later able to hustle home from second on a single from senior Ryan Waldhart.Carson was 2-for-5 and scored three runs, while Wick had three RBIs and Waldhart had two.
Back-to-back errors to start the second inning allowed one run to score and set the table for Danny Marcuzzo's two-run home run, which made it 3-0. After Oakland failed to capitalize on a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the second inning, the Leathernecks added a run in the top of the third to make it 4-0.
Both teams committed three errors and allowed three unearned runs each. The Golden Grizzlies also stranded 12 runners on base, while the Leathernecks stranded three.
Jablonski earned three walks, as a patient Oakland team was able to draw a total of seven walks from the WIU pitching staff. Conversely, Leichtman issued just one walk and did not allow any WIU player to get more than one hit.
The two teams will continue the series with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon. Friday's win was the first home victory of the season for Oakland. The team is currently in the midst of a nine-game home stand.