Golden Grizzlies Win
Mid-Con Title in Second Year
In the preseason the Golden Grizzlies were expected to finish third in the Mid-Continent Conference behind Western Illinois and Southern Utah. Much to everyone's surprise, OU claimed the regular season Mid-Con title with a 16-6 record and finished with a 24-27 overall record. Oakland went into the Mid-Con tournament as the number one seed and defeated UMKC 4-2 in the tourneys first round. OU was later defeated by Western Illinois and Southern Utah to end the Grizzlies glorious season with a 25-29 record.
Leading OU in 2001 was sophomore Ericka Burns as she led the team and Mid-Con with a .407 batting average, 70 hits, seven triples, 36 runs scored and 108 total bases. Senior Keri Sedgely was led the team with 15 doubles and 31 RBI. Sedgely was second on the team with a .333 batting average, 53 hits and a .503 slugging average.
The Golden Grizzlies traveled to Mississippi and Alabama for their spring training trip February 27-March 3. The Grizzlies were slated to play 10 games, but the schedule was reduced to four due to inclement weather. OU started the season at Southern Mississippi and split with the Golden Eagles losing the first game 6-1 and shutting out USM 2-0 in the nightcap. Freshman pitcher Jaymie Voss collected her first Division I victory as she threw two innings and gave up no hits. Oakland record: 1-1
After splitting with Southern Miss OU traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to battle the University of Alabama at Birmingham March 1. Just like in the series against USM the Grizzlies lost the first game this time by the score of 5-1 and won the second game by the score of 4-1. Sophomore Julie Anderson picked up her first win of the year as she pitched four innings only allowing one run on three hits. Oakland finished its spring trip with a 2-2 record.
The Grizzlies came back from their spring trip and then traveled to Columbus, Ohio to face Ohio State March 8. Oakland split with the Buckeyes winning the first game by the final of 4-2 and then lost the second game 4-0.
In the first game Oakland scored four runs on nine hits compared to the Buckeyes two runs on six hits. Leading OU in the victory was Burns with three hits in four at bats. Burns also had two runs scored. Sedgley hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning, while freshmen Voss and Erica Judge were 2-4 and 2-3, respectively, from the plate. Collecting the win for OU was Anderson and Voss picked up the save.
In the second game of the doubleheader OU lost 4-0 in the arctic temperatures of Buckeye Field. Ohio State scored all four runs in the first inning and the rest of the game was a battle of the pitchers. Oakland record: 3-3
March 9-11 Oakland participated in the Western Kentucky Tournament. Oakland went 1-5 in the two-day tournament to drop its record to 4-8.
The Grizzlies opened their home season against the Broncos of Western Michigan March 21. Oakland dropped both games to WMU by the scores of 2-0, 9-4. In the first game WMU's Seffernick pitched all seven innings in the shutout. She struck out nine Golden Grizzlies while only allowing four hits. Western Michigan scored two runs on five hits, while OU was held scoreless with four hits.
In the second game Oakland scored two runs in the first inning to lead WMU 2-0. To start the inning Megan Piar singled to rightfield Burns singled to third base one batter later. After Sedgley struck out, OU's Jennifer Granger hit a double scoring Piar and Burns to make it a 2-0 Golden Grizzly lead. Going into the fourth inning OU was up 3-0 until WMU scored two runs in the fourth and fifth innings to make it a 4-3 Bronco lead. In the top of the seventh inning WMU blew the game open as it scored five runs. Oakland could only produce one run in the bottom of the seventh as Western Michigan went on to win 9-4. Oakland record: 4-10
Friday, March, 23 Oakland hosted Valparaiso in its first Mid-Continent Conference game of the season. The Grizzlies claimed victorious in both games by the scores of 8-2 and 13-3. Leading the Grizzlies in the 8-2 victory was Seffens who was a perfect 3-3 from the plate with two RBI, while Granger was 3-4 with an RBI. Sophomore pitcher Linnea Utecht pitched three and one half innings, giving up two hits, one run and no earned runs for her second victory of the season. In the nightcap sophomore Anderson threw a complete game, giving up three runs on two hits to record her third win of the year. Oakland had plenty of offense as the Golden Grizzlies scored in six of the seven innings, including a five run sixth inning thanks to a three-run homer by Sedgely to give OU a 13-3 win. Oakland record: 6-10, 2-0 Mid-Con.
March, 28 Oakland traveled to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to battle the Chippewas of Central Michigan University. The Grizzlies dropped both games to CMU by the scores of 2-0 and 5-2 respectively. The losses marked the beginning of OUs longest losing streak of seven. In game one, CMU's freshman Amber Puchalski threw a no-hitter as she claimed the 2-0 victory for the Chippewas. Oaklands Voss went the distance and falls to 1-7 this season. She threw 6.0 innings, gave up four hits, two earned runs, walked one and struck out two. Puchalski walked one and struck out 13 batters en route her 7-6 record. In the second game, the game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning when the Golden Grizzlies scored a run to take a 1-0 lead on a Seffens RBI single. The Chippewas responded with four runs in their half of the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. The squads traded runs in the sixth inning to make the final score 5-2.
Leading the way offensively for the Golden Grizzlies was Seffens going 3-3 with two RBI and a double. Burns, Sedgley, Voss, Piar, and freshman Bobbie Bieszki all recorded one hit apiece in the nightcap. Oakland record: 6-12.
The Grizzlies traveled to Chicago, Illinois and tried to rebound from the losses handed out by CMU five days prior. Oakland dropped the twin-bill to the Flames by the score of 3-2 and 8-1. Oakland record: 6-14.
Oakland returned to the Great Lake State to face interstate rivals Michigan and Michigan State April 3-4. April, 3 OU was in Ann Arbor to face the Wolverines of the University of Michigan in a doubleheader. UofM defeated OU by the scores of 7-0 and 2-1. The next day the Golden Grizzlies traveled north to East Lansing to face Michigan State in a single game. The Spartans downed OU by the final of 8-2. Oakland record: 6-17.
April 6-7 OU was in Cedar City, Utah to face Mid-Con foe Southern Utah to play a four-game series. The Grizzlies snapped their nine game losing streak in the third game of the series with a 9-6 victory. Southern Utah took three of the four games by the scores of 8-6 in the first game, 6-5 in the second game and 10-0 in the fourth game. In the first game the Golden Grizzlies fought through snowy weather to pick up their third conference victory. Piar boasted three hits, including a double and two RBI. Seffens also had a stellar performance at the plate going 3-for-5 with one RBI. Voss recorded two hits and an RBI to lead the Grizzly hitting attack. Picking up the win for Oakland was Anderson. Her record improves to 4-7 on the season.
The Grizzlies returned home to host the Eagles of Eastern Michigan to begin a 10 game home streak beginning April 10-18. In the first game against EMU the Grizzlies were held to one run on three hits and lost 4-1. The Grizzlies run came in the bottom of the fifth inning as shortstop Burns drove in sophomore Nina Catanzaro to make it a 4-1 ball game. Oakland wasn't able to comeback and fell to the Eagles by the final of 4-1. Leading the Grizzlies were Burns with two hits and Sedgely with one hit. Freshman Voss collected her 10th loss of the season. In the second game the Grizzlies came out on fire as they scored all four of their runs in the first inning. Notching hits in the inning was Sedgely with a double and Utecht and Judge each with singles. Oakland was able to hold on and win the game despite EMU scoring two runs in the fourth inning. OU picked up its eight win of the year as they beat EMU 4-2. Leading OU in the second game were Sedgely and Utecht as they both were 1-3 from the plate with one RBI and one run scored. Anderson picked up her fifth win of the year for the Grizzlies as she pitched her fourth complete game. Oakland record: 8-21.
The Grizzlies hosted its second Mid-Con series of the year as it welcomed UMKC to the OU Softball Field April 13-14. The Golden Grizzlies swept the four day series against the Kangaroos by the scores of 3-1 and 4-2 the first day and 3-2 and 5-0 the second day. OUs Burns hit three home runs on the second day including one grand slam in fourth game. Oakland record: 12-21, 7-3 Mid-Con.
On April 17 OU hosted the University of Toledo in a non-conference doubleheader. The first game went to nine innings with the score tied at 3-3 until Seffens drilled a double to center field to score Catanzaro to win 4-3. In the second game against the Rockets OU jumped out to an early 3-0, scoring three runs in the first three innings. Highlighting OU's spark was freshman Kara Sayger as she hit an inside-the-park home run to make it a 2-0 Grizzly lead. Toledo answered back scoring four runs on four hits to take a 4-3 lead. Oakland was held scoreless after scoring three straight runs and lost to the Rockets by the score of 4-3. Oakland record: 13-22.
April, 18 OU faced cross-town rival the University of Detroit Mercy. The Grizzlies claimed victory in both games by the scores of 3-2 and 6-3. Burns and Voss led the Golden Grizzlies with two hits apiece and Sayger went 1-2 with the one RBI. Anderson was the winning pitcher for Oakland as she threw a complete game, gave up six hits, two unearned runs and struck out two. Anderson improved to 8-8 overall. In the second game Utecht was the pitcher of record for the Golden Grizzlies in the victory. The Oshkosh, Wisconsin native improved to 5-1 this season after throwing 5.1 innings, giving up seven hits, three earned runs and striking out five. Oakland record: 15-22.
The Grizzlies traveled to Macomb, Illinois to face the defending Mid-Con champions the Western Illinois Westerwinds April 20-21. Oakland split the four-game series winning the last two games of each day by the scores of 4-2 and 5-4. In the first win Burns led OU offensively with two hits, one run and one RBI. Christina Schulte had a perfect performance at the plate going 2-for-2. In the second win of the weekend Burns and Granger as they both were 2-3 from the plate. Anderson picked up her ninth win of the season as she pitched seven complete innings striking out four Westerwinds. Oakland record: 17-24.
The Grizzlies returned home to host the Spartans of Michigan State and Youngstown State University April 25-28. On April 25 versus the Spartans OU dropped both games of the doubleheader by the scores of 5-3 and 1-0. Oakland record: 17-26.
In the last home stand of the season OU hosted the Penguins of Youngstown State in a four-game series. YSU was victorious in the first game with a 3-2 win. Oakland responded by defeating YSU in the next three games by the scores of 5-2, 1-0 and 7-5 respectively. With the wins OU pulled into a three-way tie for the Mid-Con Regular Season Crown with Southern Utah and Western Illinois. The 5-2 win the second game against YSU marked the beginning of OUs longest winning streak that reached eight games. Oakland record: 20-27 and 12-6 in conference play.
OU traveled to IUPUI to close out the regular season as the Grizzlies and Jaguars played in a four game series April 30 and May 1. Oakland defeated IUPUI in all four games to capture the schools first conference championship in the programs two-year history. OU won the games by the scores of 5-1, 2-1, 8-3 and 7-2 to finish the season with a 16-6 Mid-Con record. Oakland record: 24-27 and 16-6 in the Mid-Con.
From Indianapolis the Grizzlies traveled to Macomb, Illinois to participate in the Mid-Continent Conference Championship May 3-5. Oakland was the number one seed entering the tournament.
In the first game OU defeated UMKC for the fifth time this season by the score 4-2. Leading OU was Granger as she was 3-4 from the plate with two RBI and one runs scored. Burns was 2-4 from the plate with two runs scored. Voss picked up her fourth win of the season as she pitched half an inning in the win. Oakland record: 25-27.
Oakland went on to face the eventual champions Western Illinois. Oaklands eight-game winning streak was snapped as OU fell to the Westerwinds by the final of 3-0. The Westerwinds scored two runs in the third inning as WIU's Chrissie Beebe hit a two-run homer to left field to give Western Illinois a 2-0 lead. The Westerwinds sealed the win as they scored one more run in the fifth inning to lead 3-0 and eventually win the game by the final of 3-0. Leading the Grizzlies was Sedgely and Granger as they both were 2-3 from the plate. Oakland record: 25-28.
With one loss in the tourney Oakland faced Southern Utah for the rights to play Western Illinois in the conference championship. Oakland lost to the T-Birds as OU allowed 11 runs, its highest run total this year as SUU downed OU 11-5. Oakland struck first in the second inning to take an early 1-0 lead, but Southern Utah exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 6-1 lead. The T-Birds scored six runs on three hits in the six-run inning. Oakland responded and scored four runs in the fifth inning to make it a 6-5 game. Sedgely hit a grand slam with two outs to cut SUU's lead to one, 6-5. Despite Sedgely's grand slam to make it a 6-5 game, SUU added one run in the fifth inning and sealed the win with four runs in the sixth inning to win by the final of 11-5.
Leading OU was Sedgely with her fourth home run of the year as she was 1-3 from the plate with four RBI. Burns led OU with two hits as she was 2-4 from the plate with one run scored. The loss marked the end of OU's season in which the Grizzlies claimed their first ever Mid-Con regular reason title as they finished 25-29 and 16-6 in the conference.
The Golden Grizzlies softball team had four players receive All-Mid-Continent Conference recognition. Sophomore Ericka Burns was named to the first team All-Mid-Con. Senior Keri Sedgely and sophomores Jennifer Granger and Megan Piar received All-Mid-Con second team honors. Burns was honored as the first-team shortstop last season, but this season she earned similar honors as an outfielder. The Clinton, Ontario native has ranked in the top 20 in the NCAA in batting average for much of the season, and entered the Mid-Con tourney with a Mid-Con best .412 average. During the regular season Burns led the team with 66 hits, seven triples, four home runs and a .644 slugging percentage.
Leading the All-Conference second team was senior Keri Sedgely as she was second on the team with a .325 batting average. The Napa Valley, California native led the Grizzlies with 15 doubles and 27 RBI. Jennifer Granger played in 49 games and started 45 of them for the Grizzlies this season. The Troy native lead the team with 303 putouts and was third on the team with a .312 batting average. Sophomore catcher Megan Piar was second on the team with 206 putouts as she played in 48 games and started 47 of them. The Lancaster, Ohio native notched 36 hits as she recorded a .248 batting average.
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