But it loses 3?
After dropping the first two games of the series on Saturday, Michigan managed to salvage a victory on Sunday. Eric Katzman got the win with 5 innings of sketchy work, and Alan Oaks got the ridiculous 4 inning save. I say ridiculous because save rules allow there to be saves over two innings or more than 3 runs.
Katzman was a bit shaky in this game, throwing a ton of pitches and allowing baserunners in each of his 5 innings of work. He allowed 4 hits, 3 walks, hit a batter (with the bases loaded), but he only allowed one run. He struck out 5 and stranded 8 runners. Three of those runners came in the 5th inning when “Evil Katzman” entered the game. After a quick out, Katzman gave up a double, single, walk, and hit batsman to give up the run. After a quick conference with Coach Maloney, Katzman struck out his final batter of the day.
Alan Oaks entered the game in the 6th and gave up a run on back to back hits. Ohio State managed a run, but OSU left fielder made a base running blunder trying to stretch a double into a triple and making the last out at third base. For those of you less into baseball, that’s a huge huge mistake. Instead of having a runner in scoring position, you lose any shot at adding more runs that inning. Honestly, when I saw that, the first thing I said was, “That’s a Michigan mistake.” It’s the kind of poor base running I’ve grown accustom to lately. That play ended up being the turning point in the game as OSU lost the momentum and would never regain it.
Oaks finished the game with 4 innings pitched with 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and a strikeout. Very solid game and it may get him another shot at starting in the next two weeks. With the Burgoon start going less than stellar on Saturday, the third slot is still anyone’s to take, even this late in the season.
Offensively, everything was clicking for the Wolverines. All those line drives up the middle fell just outside of the reach of the OSU middle infielders. Soft fly balls to the gaps were just out of range of the outfielders. It was the exact opposite of game 1. You could just tell in the first inning when we collected a pair of infield singles that things were different in this game. Lady luck was on our side.
Mike Dufek and Jake McLouth were the big run producers on the day. Dufek went 3/5 with a double, 3 RBI, and a run. McLouth went 2/3 with 2 RBI. Both came through with the timely hits when we needed them, something we haven’t seen since the first few weeks of the season.
Anthony Toth and Ryan LaMarre were the run scorers. Toth scored three times despite only getting one hit in the game. LaMarre went 2/4 with a pair of singles and 2 runs scored. I really like what I saw of LaMarre’s bat this weekend. He hit a couple of balls hard in the no hitter but was robbed by the middle infielders. In game 3 he was driving liners to the opposite field, a sign of seeing the ball well. LaMarre also stole two bases in the game. You could tell the Buckeyes’ catcher Forsythe was struggling with the pitchers and with base runners in general. He was only in the game because normal starter Burkhart left Saturday’s game 2 with an undisclosed leg injury. While I’m glad Michigan could take advantage of the replacement starter, here’s hoping Burkhart’s alright.
Timmy Kal also had an excellent game, going 2/5 with a pair of doubles getting the spot start at third base. He also made an excellent defensive play at third base.
The loss in the series doesn’t set us back that much. In the Half Way Home post I did two weeks ago, I thought we’d just win one game as well. The problem growing there is how good MSU is finishing and how Purdue closes out their schedule. It could be close on earning a 6 seed in the BTT. More on that later in the week though.
Not only did we lose two games, we also lost something a little more important. News came through via The Daily yesterday on the mysterious absence of Kevin Cislo from games 2 and 3 of the OSU series:
“I don’t know if he’ll be able to play at all (this season),” Maloney said. “I don’t know if he’s out for the year, but he’s definitely out.”
Mark it down as a bum shoulder for now. This injury is really bad. We lose our leader on the infield and one of our better hitters. We’ll see if Kevin may make a return by the BigTen tournament, but at this point I would imagine he’s done. Here’s hoping for a good recovery.
Also, I’m not much for fluff articles, but here’s a recent one on Kevin from The Ann Arbor News.
Mid Week Matchup
This week is a home and home series with Western Michigan. Tuesday is at Kalamazoo at 3:05pm, with Wednesday being at the Fish (6:35pm).