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College Softball Horizon League NCAA Division I

Oakland Softball Loses Two Close Ones in Doubleheader

By Seth J. Walker

Rochester, Michigan- Not everyone may take stock in bad things happening on Friday the 13th, but unfortunately for the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (9-21, 3-5 Horizon League), that day resulted in two close loses to Wright State (14-21, 8-5 Horizon League), both in extra innings.

Freshman Madison Jones (batting) only had one hit in each game of the double header, but entered Friday leading Oakland with a .361 batting average a Horizon League best seven home runs.

The Golden Grizzlies lost the first game 1-0 in eight innings.  Though senior pitcher Haley Zemmer only allowed six hits, her teammates only managed four.

The second game went 12 innings with the Golden Grizzlies falling short in that one, 3-2.  Getting hits weren’t the problem for the Golden Grizzlies, as they outhit the Raiders, 14-7.  Juniors Kelsie Swanson and Brittany Miller both went 3-5 while freshman Shannon Carr went 3-6.  They just couldn’t score runs except for the two they scored in the fourth inning by Swanson and Carr.

The Golden Grizzlies were able to generate hits in the seven and extra innings to give themselves chances to win, but left runners stranded.  That makes it easy for Oakland head coach Lauren Cognigni to decide what the team will work on to improve.

“We work on hitting with runners in scoring position,” Cognigni said.

The Golden Grizzlies provided a strong defensive performance in both games, allowing both Zemmer and freshman Chelsea Wiggins to pitch complete games.  Wiggins’ complete game was especially notable since she pitched 12 innings.

Pitcher Chelsea Wiggins (14) is one of several freshman with key roles this season for the Golden Grizzlies under head coach Lauren Cognigni.

“Every inning, I went out there and I looked for three outs and I knew my team would back me up,” Wiggins said.  “I just kept working through that next inning so that I know they could hit and try to win the game for us.”

The Golden Grizzlies are a young team under a first year head coach.  However, Cognigni doesn’t have to struggle to find leadership on the team; as she can find it in her senior pitcher, Zemmer, one of the last two remaining players from the 2015 Horizon League Championship squad, which reached the NCAA Tournament.

“Haley’s experience is great, especially on the mound,” Cognigni said.  “She’s really leading the team.  She helps the team feel more comfortable throughout games.  Normally, we hit a little bit better behind her because she keeps us in it; and they’re always close, whether we’re losing by a run or winning by a run.  So her experience is great.”

The final game of the series, Saturday was cancelled due to weather, so the Golden Grizzlies will now prepare for their next series, a double header against Northern Kentucky, on Tuesday.



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