May 18, 2013
ROCHESTER, Mich. - Seniors Nolan Jacoby and Mike Carson drove in game-winning runs, while senior right-handed pitchers Kevin Korkate (3-1) and Russell Luxton Jr. (1-3) earned wins in relief, to lead Oakland (20-33, 15-13) to a sweep over Western Illinois (18-35, 9-17), 4-3 and 12-11 (11), on Saturday on Senior Day at the OU Baseball Field. The Golden Grizzlies are riding a season-high five-game winning streak.
"I am very happy for our seniors today," said OU coach John Musachio. "I give a lot of credit to Western Illinois for their comeback today. We are excited about the momentum we have heading into the tournament."
Jacoby led the offensive attack with six runs batted in, going 4-for-9, with three doubles. Carson finished 3-for-7, with two RBIs in the nightcap, while fellow senior Kyle Bobolts drove in two runs and finished 2-for-5 in game two. Senior Todd Dunham went 2-for-6, with a walk and RBI in the second game.
Korkate worked a scoreless inning to earn the win in the opener. Luxton recorded his eighth save of the season to improve his school record to 20 in his career. He entered game two in the 11th inning and struck out two with the bases loaded.
In game one, the Golden Grizzlies trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. A pair of infield singles and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with two outs. Jacoby then connected on a double to right-center field to clear the base paths and give the Grizzlies a 4-3 lead.
The Leathernecks began the seventh inning with a single, but Luxton induced a ground ball to shortstop where OU turned a 6-4-3 double play. After another single by WIU, Luxton recorded the final out on a fly ball to right field.
Game two looked like the first blow out of the series. After three consecutive one-run victories by the Golden Grizzlies, OU would jump on the Leathernecks for seven runs in the fourth inning to take a commanding 9-1 lead.
That lead grew to nine runs, 11-2, in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI by Jacoby and a wild pitch that allowed Carson to score. That's when momentum would change for the Golden Grizzlies.
After a run in the sixth inning, the Leathernecks scored four runs in the seventh and eighth innings to tie the game at 11. The Golden Grizzlies would go through five pitchers in those innings, allowing eight hits and three walks, including two with the bases loaded.
Korkate then entered the game for OU and pitched scoreless ninth and 10th innings. In the top of the 11th inning, Luxton came into pitch. The Leathernecks started the inning with back-to-back singles and after a successful sacrifice bunt, WIU had runners at second and third with one out.
OU then intentionally walked Zach Burling to load the bases. Luxton proceeded to strike out the next two batters to keep the Leathernecks off the scoreboard. After two quick outs in the bottom half of the 11th inning, Spencer Marentette reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, which allowed him to reach second base. Dunham beat out a ground ball to third base to keep the inning alive and put runners at the corners.
Dunham then stole second base and Mike Brosseau earned a two-out walk to load the bases. That set the table for Carson and he delivered a hard shot down the left-field line to give the Golden Grizzlies their first series sweep.
Oakland will host The Summit League Baseball Championship next week, May 23-25. The Golden Grizzlies will be the No. 2 seed and will face No. 3 seed North Dakota State on Thursday at 3 p.m. No. 1 South Dakota State will take on No. 4 seed Western Illinois at Noon on the OU Baseball Field.