You couldn't have asked for a better start in Menlo's first ever baseball playoff game. Leadoff hitter and senior right fielder Joel Hull blasted the third pitch in Oaks' playoff history over the left field wall to give Menlo a 1-0 lead over the #4 seeded College of Idaho Coyotes. For Hull, it was his first home run of the season, but that was just the beginning.
With the score tied at one in the top of the third, he did it again. Hull took a second Mitch Dame offering into the trees in left to put the Oaks on top 2-1. For Dame, he had only given up two home runs all season in what was an undefeated 8-0 record coming into the final game of the opening round triple-header.
College of Idaho would not quit, showing that in the bottom of the third with a game tying home run of their own by catcher Jarel Lewis. The theme of resiliency was something that lasted throughout the entire day for the Coyotes who had already erased a 6-0 deficit to Patten University for a victory in the Tournament's opening game.
Menlo was able to regain their lead in the bottom of the fourth with a two out, two run single by second baseman C.J. Dailey, but that only set up heartbreak the Oaks' playoff opener. C of I cut the lead to 4-3 as the game entered the bottom of the eighth inning and with no one out and a runner on first, the ever dangerous Coyotes' outfielder Izaac Garsez stepped to the plate looking to make his mark in this year's Tournament.
Garsez launched a go ahead and eventual game winning home run off Oaks' reliever Kyer Vega to give the College of Idaho a 5-4 victory, and a 2-0 record as day one concluded. For the Oaks, they are looking at things on the opposite end of the spectrum, as one more loss tomorrow will end their 2011 magical season in the double-elimination format.
"We will be back and ready to go for tomorrow," commented Menlo Manager Matt Daily on the disappointing playoff loss. "These kids are very resilient and we are not going to back down. We are not afraid of this situation and that's what's fun about all of this."Tomorrow can't come soon enough for the Oaks who are set to play the third game of the day against the winner of Simpson and Patten who kick off the morning with a 9am elimination game.