Menlo defined what it means to be a team today, picking up one of their own after Oaks' ace Adam Koontz struggled in his much anticipated return to action. Koontz was sidelined with a thumb injury last weekend so today marked his first appearance in nearly two weeks. Unfortunately for the senior from San Lorenzo, CA there was still some rust on his right arm as he was knocked out without even recording an out and his team already trailing 2-0. Manager Matt Daily elected to bring in freshman Derek Rodriguez into a tough situation as the bases were juiced with none down and Menlo in danger of falling further behind. Rodriguez not only got out of trouble by getting Oregon Tech's right fielder Phil Sacks to ground into a double play, but he excelled for the rest of the day on his way to picking up his first win of the season.
Rodriguez tossed five innings of five hit ball while only giving up two earned, and after the game he talked about the critical first inning that kept the Oaks in the game. "I just knew I needed to get the ground ball to get our team out of the situation and set them up to come out and get a win, that was the bottom line," claimed Rodriguez.
Well the freshman from Monte Sereno's words held true, as Menlo was able to put the rough first behind them in earning a 9-7 win to complete the four game sweep. Offensively the Oaks were aided by two clutch home runs, a first inning shot by first baseman Will Pierce and a third inning bomb by designated hitter Coleman Cox. Pierce's first inning two out jack tied the game up at four while Cox's three run blast broke a 5-5 tie with two out in the third to put the Oaks up 8-5. For Cox, who will now see a substantial amount of playing time after the injury to junior Corey Metoyer, the home run will hopefully serve as a sign of things to come. "It felt really good to contribute to the team and hopefully I can continue to do that," commented Cox on his clutch at bat.
Although the Oaks held a three run lead, things began to slip away as the game headed into to the top of the seventh inning. The Owls had cut the lead to 9-7 and with runners on first and third and two out it was time for freshman pitcher John Schott to shine. Schott came on to retire Kyle Hansen to end the seventh and then proceeded to toss a final two shutout innings to earn his first career collegiate save.
Even though it was the most pressure-packed situation since joining the Oaks, Schott's calm demeanor allowed him to be successful. "I was asked to do a job so when we are told to throw, we are expected to get things done and that's exactly what happened today," remarked Schott on his outstanding performance.
With today's "W" Menlo earns a sweep over Oregon Tech and now improves their overall record to 11-7 with a conference mark of 5-3. Menlo will have a quick turnaround as they hit the road for a game at Fresno Pacific. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00pm.