OAKLAND, Calif. – The field location for Tuesday's baseball doubleheader between Simpson and Menlo College switched four times less than 24 hours before first pitch. With Laney College finally being secured as the site for games, the Redhawks and Oaks were able to take the field with no threat of rain. The Oaks bats were quiet in games two and three of the series against RV Biola last weekend, so much so that the Oaks fell out of the top-25. On Tuesday, Menlo played like the team that was ranked for so much of the season. Menlo mashed five home runs in game one and were backed by a stellar pitching performance by Brian Ransom in game two to earn the sweep of Simpson with finals of 16-7 and 2-1. Menlo is now 30-14 while Simpson is 13-29.
The Oaks got on the board first in game one of the twin bill in a way that has so often gotten them on the board this season: Jordan Getzelman homered. Shocking, right? His 24th of the season was just the beginning of the offensive outburst for Menlo, as they would add on with four more runs in the bottom of the third. Sam Morgan reached on an error by the Simpson shortstop, and Reed Kienle followed with a single to right field (his second of four hits in the game). Joe Gillette came up next and crushed a high-arcing homer to left field to score three and make it 4-0. The inning was not over yet, as Getzelman would be hit a pitch immediately following the home run. He stole second for his 13th steal of the season and advanced to third on a throwing error from the Redhawks catcher. Julian Jarrard singled him home with a bouncer through the left side, and the Oaks enjoyed a 5-0.
It would evaporate entirely in the top of the fifth. Mack Boone was on for his third inning of relief after entering in the top of the second for Menlo starter Brett Solano, who was just getting some brief work in. He walked the leadoff hitter in the inning and then made an errant throw on an attempted force out to put two runners on and nobody out. After a hit batter and a bases-loaded walk made it 5-1, Boone was pulled for reliever Cruz Daddario. He walked the first batter he faced to make it 5-2. The Oaks continued to kick the ball around in the inning when Gillette threw errantly on a ground ball to the following batter, and it scored all three men on base, tying the game suddenly at 5-5. The worst part: the Redhawks did not record a hit and yet scored five times.
Menlo pulled back ahead just pitches into the bottom of the fourth, when Kienle led off the inning with a solo shot to left field to make it 6-5 Oaks. The long ball was not yet done in the inning after Gillette and Dalton Maxwell walked. With two down, Dean Aliamus came up and launched his sixth home run of the season down the left field line over the leap of the Simpson outfielder. His three-run shot made it 9-5 Menlo, a lead they would not succumb.
Menlo added on runs in every inning the rest of the way, including the 25th home run of the season from Getzelman in the bottom of the seventh. Kienle wound up going 4-5 with 4 runs, a homer, 2 RBI, and a steal. Gillette drove home five runs, Getzelman drove home three with his two blasts, and Aliamus went 3-4 with 2 runs and 3 RBI. Daddario picked up the win in relief while Jordan Tagawa and Andrew Merken pitched the final three innings of the game.
The most difficult games to write recaps for are pitcher's duels, and that was exactly what we had in game two. Seven innings of play took just 77 minutes, with just a combined three runs put up between the two teams. It was actually Simpson to strike first in game two against Menlo starter Brian Ransom, but it would be the only time they could blemish his line. Josh Dilg led off the game with a single, and he was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Jared Bertotti drove him in with a single that bounced past second base, and the Redhawks were in the lead 1-0.
It was relatively short-lived, as the Oaks atoned for that run in the bottom of the second. Julian Jarrard led off with an infield single, and Maxwell followed with a single to right field. Zechariah Jarrard walked to load the bases with one out, and with two down, Nick Quejado drove home a run in the most painful of fashions: getting plunked. Menlo took the lead in the very next inning, and it started with a Joe Gillette walk. He would proceed to steal second, and after a hit by pitch, Maxwell singled him home.
That was it for runs scored in the game, as Collin Bovee and Ransom were both on from that point on. Ransom was making his fourth start of the season and it was easily his best. He went the distance for the second time this season, allowed six hits, the one run in the first, did not walk a batter, and struck out a career-high nine. His mix of fastball and slider had hitters fooled, and his command was superb.
The Oaks now have some confidence moving into their weekend conference series against William Jessup. Menlo is 1.5 games behind RV Vanguard for first in the standings. This weekend will feature Senior Day on Saturday, as the Oaks honor their senior class. Friday's single game is at 3:00 at Menlo High School, while Senior Day on Saturday is currently scheduled at Laney College.