Like a crazy amount of other people on Friday, I went down to Ray Fisher Stadium despite the ominous forecast and sky. Walking down State street it almost felt like a football game (except it being at night and the crowd skewing older). Tons of people were making the trek down State for the game.
I got to the ticket window by 6:45 and it looked as though they’d been selling only standing room only tickets for a while. Luckily, standing room only basically meant general admission outside the grand stand. I had a camera (pictures up probably Sunday or Monday), so I figured I’d find a nice spot on the rail. Before the starting line-ups were done, the rail was full up both baselines. Two people deep at some places. Most of the bleachers were filling up too.
By the time the game started, the place was packed. The spot I found was along the 3rd baseline by the Yost entrance. It also seemed to be where the Athletic Department big wigs were handing out. Bill Martin was standing in the crowd looking as happy as I’ve ever seen him, soaking in the environment. The alumni band was in the stands led by a very energetic sousaphonist. The crowd was totally ready to go. It felt like a big league game, or at least double A.
Putnam got the start and had a shaky start. Gave up early hits and a cheap run in the second with only one out. He looked nervous. His pitches were either balls or line drives. So with one out and runners on the corners, he trying to pick off the man on first. He does this two or three times. Then he fakes the pick-off throw to first and guns it over to third and catches the runner in a pickle. That really seemed to get him going. He struck out the batter and then was lights out the rest of the night.
The bottom of the second started with Putnam up to bat. It seemed all the confidence he got at the end of the last side came from UK’s starter, Rusin. Putnam got walked on four pitches. Got over to third on a hit and run and scored on an RBI single. The Wolverines scored four more runs that inning. Luckily my friend who played baseball and understands the strategy was there to explain what was happening to me. The conclusion, Maloney has balls that Les Miles would envy. In the second inning, Maloney called two hit and runs and a suicide squeeze. Both the hit and runs advanced the runner from first to third and the squeeze scored one. Rusin was pulled before he got the second out that inning.
Michigan looked like it was cruising and Putnam was dealing, but then the lightning started and they suspended the game. I didn’t make to the Fish for the game this morning, but I’ll be heading back tonight at 7pm for the game against Arizona. Hopefully the Fish will be just as packed and ready to go as it was last night.
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