Oakland Sweeps Softball Doubleheader Against Rival Detroit Mercy
By Seth J. Walker
Rochester, Michigan- The Oakland Golden Grizzlies (17-23, 11-7 Horizon League) swept both games of a Tuesday afternoon double header against the rival Detroit Mercy Titans (13-27, 8-10), to put some distance between themselves and the Titans for third place in the conference. The Golden Grizzlies won the first game, 3-0 and the second game, 8-4.
In the first game, the Golden Grizzlies used their defense to shut down the Titans, as senior pitcher Haley Zemmer pitched all seven innings, allowing only four hits.
The second game was all about offense, as the Golden Grizzlies scored five runs in the second inning, forcing a Titans pitching change from sophomore Liz Murphy to fellow sophomore Lindsay Brandon. The Golden Grizzlies then added two more runs in the third inning off a two-run home run by sophomore shortstop Jamie Squires, her third homer of the season.
“We started to string our hits together more, something we’ve been lacking lately but we really pulled through,” Oakland freshman third baseman Madison Jones said.
Freshman Chelsea Wiggins pitched five innings in the second game, allowing five hits and striking out six batters. The run support she received was key to allowing Wiggins to get her fourth win of the season.
“It’s really helpful,” Zemmer said. “It’s not really fun to be out there pitching your butt off, and not really having run support. We can, as pitchers, shut them down all day long, but if we don’t have the runs support, we don’t win the games.”
The two runs in the third and last run in the sixth inning, served as insurance for the Golden Grizzlies, enabling them to hold on for the win despite allowing a two-run home run from Titans senior third baseman Savvy Ferstle in the fifth inning.
Zemmer then pitched the final two innings, allowing only one hit and striking out two to get the save to go along with her win in game one.
Before the doubleheader, the Oakland was only one game ahead of Detroit Mercy in the Horizon League standings. Now, the Golden Grizzlies are three games ahead of the Titans, and two and a half games ahead of Wright State. Plus, the two wins gives the Golden Grizzlies two more points to extend their lead over the Titans in the Metro Series rivalry this season. Oakland remains undefeated this season over Detroit Mercy this season across all sports; including sweeps by the men’s and women’s basketball teams respectively.
“It’s always nice to win against a big rival,” Squires said. “It’s always a good competition between us and Detroit, so it feels really good to sweep them.”
The Titans will play their home finale Wednesday at 4pm against Western Michigan before closing out their regular season with three-game road series at Northern Kentucky, beginning Friday. The Golden Grizzlies will also begin a three game series, Friday, hosing Green Bay, but not before playing a doubleheader Wednesday against Eastern Michigan. This will the final pair of meetings between the Golden Grizzlies and Eagles, after it was announced back in March that softball would be among four sports cut by Eastern Michigan after the current academic year due to budget concerns.
“We are definitely sad to see them go,” Oakland head coach Lauren Cognigni said. “It’s never, never a good thing to see athletic programs being cut. It makes our community a little bit smaller and the competition a little bit tougher.”