Fetter Goes #264 to San Diego

Chris Fetter was drafted by the San Diego Padres with the 264th pick, 3rd in the 9th round. This is a little further down than expected, but not too far.

In recruiting news, Daniel Fields of University of Detroit Jesuit was picked by the Tigers at #180, the middle of the 6th round. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went with the Tigers as the 6th round is pretty respectable, and it is the Tigers who drafted him, which may or may not influence the decision.

Dennis went in the 10th round to the Rays, so there is a good chance he could end up in Ann Arbor. It’ll be a wait and see situation. (Andrew@EC, I’ll get your comment approved by Tim or Paul soon enough.)

The last prospect we’re watching is Patrick Biondi. He’s still undrafted as of 2:05pm (late in round 13). That may bode well, too.

I’ll update if I hear anything else. There’s a chance Dufek or Katzman may go in the VERY late rounds, but I don’t think they’re any chance of defection.

Posted under Baseball, Recruiting

Baseball vs Northwestern

Northwestern isn’t really very good at all.  They have a 3-16 BigTen record (12-34-1 overall).  Michigan is playing and praying.  We need Purdue to lose at least two against Illinois at home.  We must take care of Northwestern.  If Purdue wins two we’re done.  If they win one, we must sweep.  If they get swept, we must win 2.  We have to hope the weather works in our favor.  That is all.

Rocky Miller Park
Evanston, IL

Game 1 Thursday:4pm  Live Stats
Probable Starters: Chris Fetter (6-3) vs. TBA

Game 2 Friday: 4pm  Live Stats
Probable Starters: Eric Katzman (7-4) vs. Eric Jokish (3-7)

Game 3 Saturday: 2pm  Live Stats
Probable Starters: TBA vs. Joe Muraski (3-5)

No word on audio.  I’m guessing there may not be any.  I’m headed to Austin today to pick up my little sister and head to a funeral.  I should be back by Sunday to hopefully have a post on making the tournament.  We’ll see.

Posted under Baseball

Preview: Minnesota

from umn.edu

vs. Minnesota
Ray Fisher Stadium
Ann Arbor, MI

Game 1 – 6:35pm Friday
Starters:  Handran (RHP, 6-2, 3.45 ERA)  vs.  Chris Fetter (6-2, 2.44 ERA)
Media Game 1: Live Stats and Audio

Game 2 -1:05pm Saturday
Starters: Buske (RHP, 7-3, 2.56 ERA) vs. TBA
Media Game 2: Live Stats and Audio

Game 3 – 1:05pm Sunday
Starters: Rosin (RHP, 5-1, 3.95 ERA) vs.  Katzman(7-4, 2.94 ERA)
Media Game 1: Live Stats and Audio

Series: Michigan trails 82-81
Last Meeting: Michigan swept 3 in 2008
Last Michigan Loss: April 6, 2008 (7 game winning streak)
Last Michigan Series Loss – 2005 (sweep @Minnesota)


Minnesota enters this series in second place in the BigTen, just one half game behind Illinois.  The Gophers are 13-4 in conference play, 31-13 overall.  They currently lead the conference in ERA at 4.38, good for #41 in the nation.  Their hitting isn’t too bad either.  Minnesota is 4th in the BigTen at .318 batting average, good for #65 in the nation.  They have a good balance between pitching and hitting, it should be a tough series for Michigan.


Minnesota is lead by junior second baseman Derek McCallum.  McCallum is currently batting .399 on the season (top of all regular BigTen starters), so obviously he can hit.  As if his average wasn’t enough, his power is just as notable.  On the year, he has 14 homeruns, 10 doubles, and 3 triples for a .734 slugging percentage, highest in the BigTen by at least .060 points.  Thats huge.  He also leads the conference in RBIs with 61.

The Gophers also have 5 other batters with averages over .330, including Michael Kvasnicka, the other power threat.  Kvasnicka owns a .359 batting average with 15 doubles and 7 home runs. He has 47 RBIs on the year, second on the team.

Matt Nohlety (.344 batting average) will be the big stolen base threat for Minnesota; he currently has 19 steals in 24 attempts.  The Gophers as a team do attempt plenty of steals.  They are about on par with Michigan in attempts, but have a slightly better percentage with 64 steals in 87 attempts (Michigan is 56 for 90).

AJ Peterson (.366 BA), Justin Gominsky (.360), and Kyle Hudson (.330) round out the hitters over .330.  None of these look to be overly powerful, but they get on base plenty.  The only other major source of power comes from Nick O’Shea who is hitting .274 on the year with 11 doubles and 8 home runs.

One statistic that may or may not make a difference this year comes from Kyle Gleason.  Despite his .232 batting average, he has worked 33 walks this season.  That actually puts his on base percentage at .471.  That stat just stood out strangely.  Let’s throw him strikes.


Starting Friday is Chancy Handran.  His 3.45 ERA is pretty good, but he does give up plenty of base runners.  In 70 innings pitched, he’s given up 70 hits and 26 walks.  He has only struck out 42 in that time, too.  That bodes well.

Saturday’s starter Tom Buske is an outlier when it comes to BigTen Pitcher of the Year.  His 2.45 ERA is second only to Chris Fetter, but I don’t hear anything about him when it comes to POTY talk.  Weird.  He hasn’t been overwhelming with strikeouts with only 58 on the year, but in his 70 innings, he’s only given up 52 hits and 18 walks.  That’s pretty good compared to the rest of the league.

Sunday sees Seth Rosin to the mound.  His ERA is 3.95, also very good for a BigTen starter.  He doesn’t usually last very long into games, with just under 5 innings per start (54.2 innings in 11 starts).  He has 46 Ks in those starts and only walked 11.

The closer for the Gophers is Scott Matyas.  He currently has 10 saves in 17 appearances spanning 18.2 innings.  He has struck out 28 this season and given up only 7 runs.



Looks like we should get all three games in this weekend.  Saturday may have a little bit of a delay to it.  Those winds should be helacious, blowing in strong from right center.

Promotions and Announcements

Friday (full promotional schedule):

The first 1,000 fans will receive a maize or blue glow stick necklace to help us light up the Wilpon Baseball Complex.

Join us beginning at 5:30 p.m. to participate in our inflatable games, face painting, and much more!


All Great Sauk Trail Boy Scouts and their families are invited to attend this game for only $3! Click HERE for downloadable flyer!

Beginning at Noon enjoy an ice cream sundae courtesy of Michigan Baseball!

The first 500 fans will receive the fourth-set of Michigan baseball trading cards


To celebrate Mother’s and Grandmother’s Michigan baseball will host a brunch for families to attend for only $15 for adults and $10 for youth 13 and under. This includes the brunch, a plant for the honored guest(s) and a reserved chairback seat to the game. To RSVP, contact Katy Jackson at katjacks@umich.edu or 734-647-1261. For more information, download the event flyer (PDF).

Also, there is some street closures happening this weekend.  Northbound State Street will be closed.  MGoBlue:

The recommended route for fans traveling from points south who normally use State Street is to take Ann Arbor-Saline Road / Main Street to Hoover and use the parking lot entrance by the band building and Canham Natatorium.

Travel to the game and travel safe.


Michigan needs wins.  This weekend is a tough series.  Michigan has a great chance of taking tonight’s game, and a decent shot at taking the series.  I felt lucky last week and saw us no hit in the first game.  I’m feeling lucky again, but this time I think we take game 1 and game 3 specifically.  Game two will be rough against Buske, but get out there and support the team.  We need the wins.

Posted under Baseball

Michigan Takes One At Ohio State

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.

Cislo Out

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).

Posted under Baseball

Mid Week Roundup: Notre Dame

Michigan split a pair of mid week games at Notre Dame last night.  It was one of those nights where Maloney was out to throw as many pitchers as possible just to get them work.  Even with that mindset, some pitchers still couldn’t make it through just an inning of work (Travis Smith, I’m looking at you).  Overall though, most of the pitchers did fairly well from what I heard on MGoBlue and the comments yesterday.

Katzman looked shaky in his one inning of work, walking the lead off batter and then hitting Golden Tate with a pitch to start the game.  After a strikeout and another walk, he managed to escape the inning without a run.

Kolby Wood threw the long relief; he was originally scheduled to start.  Over his 4 innings, he only gave up 2 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 2 Ks.  He worked into a bases loaded jam in the 2nd and induced a double play, then again, in the 5th, he got a critical double play to preserve the lead.  After giving up a single and double to open 6th, Wood was pulled for…

Tyler Burgoon.  Burgoon managed to get a fly ball on the first batter, but it was deep enough to score a run.  Groundout, RBI single, double, groundout and we were out of the inning, but Wood lost the chance for the win.  Burgoon did pick up the win in the top of the 7th.  He’d close out the game with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout for the finish.  So while his first inning was a bit rough, he looked really good to finish.  Hopefully that shoulder isn’t affecting his pitching too much.

Game two started with Mike Wilson… and he wasn’t half bad.  He went 4 innings giving up 4 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.  His toughest inning was the second; he started by giving up back to back singles and a walk.  He worked his way out with a pair of strikeouts and a ground ball.  That’s the type of situtation Wilson hasn’t performed in well lately.  It was a real promising start.  After giving up only a hit in each of the 3rd and 4th inning, Wilson started to lose command to start the 5th.  He walked both batters he faced, opening the door to the bullpen.

Travis Smith came in and wouldn’t record an out.  The defense set the tone for his outing, with a John Lorenz error on the first batter Smith would face.  The next batter would single in two runs.  A hit by pitch and walk later, Notre Dame would score again.

Matt Miller would take over from here (still 0 outs in the 5th).  The first batter he faced flew out to Alan Oaks in left, plating a run on the sac fly.  Miller then struck out 4 of the next 5 batters to finish the game.  Miller was damn impressive.

Offensively, Coach had a chance to move some people around.  Ryan LaMarre was given the night off to rest; this was his first set of games to sit out.  Cislo also sat out most of the second game, coming in to pinch run in the last inning (and get caught stealing).

Despite the shakeup, Michigan was back to its favorite past time in game one – strikeouts.  The Wolverines struckout 10 times, lead by the hat trick of Kenny Fellows.  The left on base stat was also a little high, but about average for Michigan at 8.  Lorenz owned half of those, but I will point out that at least he didn’t strikeout this game.

The good came from Coley Crank.  Coley went 3/5 on the day with a double and a solo homerun.  Anthony Toth also went 3/6 with an RBI.

Defensively we had 2 errors on the game.  Berset had a throwing error that didn’t lead to a run, but should be at least noted.  Lorenz had the error (previously mentioned during the Travis Smith escapade) that lead to a run.  His defense has been suspect lately, but he did earn some props from Kolby Wood in game one:

“I came in and tried to aim the ball when I was first throwing and got into a jam[…] There were a couple of tough plays, and then John Lorenz, our third baseman, made a really nice play and picked me up. That gave me a lot of confidence.”

So at least he’s got that going for him.  The kid is still a freshman and will struggle.

In the long run, this doubleheader doesn’t mean much of anything.  It was good to see Michigan keep its composure in game one.  I was also glad to see we hit a pair of lefties around a little bit.  We’re facing two really good lefties this weekend from Indiana.  So hopefully this was good practice leading up to that.

First game Friday is at 6:35pm at the Fish.

Posted under Baseball

Weekend Recap: Michigan State

There is a lot of not good in game 1 and 2, but game 3 went well.

Game 1

Box Score R H E
Michigan 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 7 10 3
MSU 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 2 2 1 8 11 1

W – Wonderlich (4-4) L – Eric Katzman (5-3) Sv – None

Michigan jumped ahead in this one with a big 3rd inning, but the defense kept creating new ways to let State get back into the game. In the third, Lorenz made a throwing error trying to get a runner at the plate. That would have been out number two and the ensuing fly ball would be the end of the inning. Instead a run scored, and the fly ball was a sacrifice fly to bring in another.

In the fifth, Fetter made his only mistake of the game, a lead off homerun on the first pitch of the inning. In the 9th, with the lead, Tyler Burgoon fielded a sacrifice bunt and went to first, overthrowing Kevin Cislo. The ball went into the outfield. Two runs would score unearned.

In the 10th, the bullpen fell apart. Burgoon let two runners on, Miller faced one batter (a walk), and Katzman gave up a bases loaded walk and sac fly. Two runs would score and we’d blow our second save of the game. In the 11th, the winning run would reach on a Anthony Toth error. It was awful.

Offense looked good though. The bottom of the order produced very well and we were getting the timely hits. We only stranded 6 runners the whole game. Unfortunately, it takes more than just scoring runs to win ball games – you’ve got to play defense.

Notable Stars

  • Chris Fetter – 8 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 6 K, ND
  • Mike Dufek – 1/4 3 RBI, R, HR, SACF
  • Anthony Toth – 3/5 R, RBI
  • Chris Berset – 2/5 R, 2B

Notable Goats

  • Defense – Toth/Lorenz/Burgoon. Errors lead to 5(!) unearned runs. Burgoon’s blew a save, Toth’s lead to the final MSU run
  • Bullpen – Along with Burgoon’s error, he had two earned runs (Miller/Katzman inherited them and couldn’t finish the inning). Miller faced one batter and walked him.

Other Notes

Game 2

Box Score R H E
MSU 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 3 6 1
Michigan 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0

W – Achter (2-3) L – Alan Oaks (0-2) Sv – Wolff(4)

See: Why We Lost MSU Game 2. I think that touches nearly all the bad I wanted to touch upon.

As for the good, Alan Oaks pitched the game of his college career. Maloney said he earned the start and did he ever make the most of it. It is sickening he took the loss in this game. Alan only gave up 3 runs in the start, one from a balk with two outs and a runner on third (ouch); the other came from a one out walk followed by 3 2-out hits. Oaksie gave up 5 hits, walked 5 and hit a batter, but he managed his base runners well, working his way out of trouble. He even recorded four strikeouts, 2 coming in an inning where he had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out.

Notable Stars

  • Alan Oaks – 7.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 BB, 1 HBP, 4 K, 1 Balk, 121 Pitches, 65 Strikes
  • Chris Berset – 2/4 RBI
  • Jim Abbott – Retired his #31 jersey, signed autographs for nearly an hour and a half
  • Attendance – Officially 3453. Highest of the season.

Notable Goats

Other Notes

  • My one regret: Chris Berset was on deck to end the game.
  • The Ann Arbor News – Frustrating.

“Timely hitting … you can’t teach it. It just has to happen,” Maloney said. “… Right now for our team, things haven’t been going real well.

Game 3

Box Score R H E
Michigan 0 0 2 0 4 0 0 1 2 9 12 0
MSU 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 7 0

W – Eric Katzman (6-3) L – Corcoran (0-4) Sv – Miller (3).

Thank god we won one to avert the first series sweep in at least 8 years. This game is everything I expected from the Michigan team this year. I expected us to hit well. I expected the pitching to be a little shaky but pull through. I expected us to take care of lesser opponents. Finally, for the first time all season, I saw Michigan baseball.

Eric Katzman, who apparently wants to earn a decision as often as possible, started this game and did fairly well. He wasn’t outstanding, but he was “good Katzman.” He didn’t have the best control, but he got outs. He just ran out of gas after 120 pitches, leading to the two runs scored. Matt Miller on the other hand was lights out for the 3+ innings of work.

Everything was clicking on offense. The top of the lineup was on base every inning and the middle of the lineup got the timely hitting to knock them in. Even John Lorenz had a great game knocking in 3 runs.

This game has me excited.

Notable Stars

  • Mike Dufek – 2/4 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B
  • Kenny Fellows – 3/5 2 R, SB
  • John Lorenz – 2/4 3 RBI
  • Kevin Cislo – 2/5 2 R
  • Matt Miller – 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, Save

Notable Goats

  • I got nothing. This was good Michigan baseball.
  • McLane Stadium Press Box for not having audio capabilities installed yet.

Other Notes

  • No news stories yet.

Wrap Up

This weekend was a bunch of gray clouds with a silver lining. We lost two of three to lowly Michigan State, a team who ranks in the 260s of 288 in team hitting. We lost to an in state rival, who we haven’t lost a series to since I don’t even know when – at least 8 years. We beat ourselves so badly in the first two games. We’ve dropped into 8th place in the Big10. We’re in jeopardy of missing the BigTen Tournament for the first time since 2002.

And then Sunday happened. While Game 3 was Michigan Baseball like I expected all season. Game 3 offers hope. Perhaps, just maybe, we finally had that “turning point” so many people have talked about the last 4 weeks. Perhaps Michigan has finally hit stride and will begin to compete. Perhaps I’m being to optimistic. Perhaps not. This game has me excited for the rest of the BigTen season.

Speaking about the rest of the season, it’s the midway point of the conference season, so I’ll be breaking down what happened so far and what we can expect to come in a post due out either later today or tomorrow. As for the week ahead, we’ve got a home-and-home with Notre Dame on Tuesday/Wednesday. Tuesday is here at the Fish. The weekend sees the Indiana Hoosiers and probable BigTen Player of the Year Josh Phegley come to Ann Arbor. More updates on those as the week progresses.

Posted under Baseball

Quick Preview: Michigan State

Between an exam, a research paper, and 6 games umpired this week, I’m a bit behind schedule for the Michigan State series.  I’ll touch quickly then leave it to the team to figure out.  First pitch is only an hour away (now 10 minutes as I finish) as I type this (starts 3:05).

@/vs./@ Michigan State

from msu.edu

3:05pm Friday, 1:05pm Saturday, 1:05pm Sunday
McLane Stadium/Ray Fisher Stadium/McLane Stadium
East Lansing, MI/Ann Arbor, MI/East Lansing, MI

Media Game 1: Live Stats
Probable Starters Game 1:  Chris Fetter (5-1) vs. Nolan Moody (4-4)
Media Game 2: Live Stats and Audio (WBCN)
Probable Starters Game 2:   Achter (1-3) vs Eric Katzman (5-2)
Media Game 3: Live Stats and Audio (MGoBlue)
Probable Starters Game 3: TBA vs TBA
Series: Michigan leads 188-95-2
Last Meeting: Michigan UM swept all 4 last season
Last Michigan Loss: Recap – 6-7, (April 2006 @ UM), last series loss (1-3) was 2002 (tied in ’04 at 2-2)


The Spartans enter the intrastate matchup with a record of 12-21, 3-6 in the BigTen (8th place).  They are, however, 9-0 at their new stadium this year.  As a team, the wins they have are due to great pitching, and not much to do with hitting at all.  As a team, Michigan State ranks 265 out of 288 teams in team batting average at just .265 (as of Tuesday). The Spartans only fall in the top 200 of three offensive categories tracked by the NCAA, stolen bases per game(116), stolen bases (108), and sacrifice flies (15).

Johnny Lee is their leading hitter at .315 average.  To contrast how low that is, Michigan’s leading hitter is batting .385, and we have 5 batters with a higher average than .320.  Lee also is the team leader in strikeouts with 28, but as a team, they don’t strikeout nearly as much as Michigan.

Eli Boike is the Spartans leading slugger at .522, but he only has 6 home runs and 6 doubles on the season, which isn’t all that great.  Boike is also a threat on the bases with 8 steals so far on the season.  Jeff Holm is their current stolen base leader (11 for 12).

Their team ERA however is good for 105th at 5.03, just .02 behind Michigan.  They are lead by Friday starter Nolan Moody, who has thrown 2 complete games (one shutout).  Moody has made 8 appearances this year, winning 4 of them (4-4 record…lack of run support).  His 3.25 ERA is tops among Spartan starters.  The number two in the Spartans rotation also has a pretty nice ERA at 3.49, but also has a 1-3 record in 8 starts.  Tough luck for those guys.

The good news for Michigan is that the Spartans don’t strike many batters out or force many double plays.  The 5.4 strikeouts per nine innings is one of the lowest we’ve seen this year, and State only turns about as many double plays as we do (.84 a game).  They walk plenty, too – 4.6 per game.

The Weather

Weather looks good today and tomorrow, but it may be questionable on Sunday for the finale.  Otherwise, absolutely gorgeous the for the first two games.

Today at EL, Tomorrow in Ann Arbor, Sunday at EL

Today EL, Tomorrow AA, Sunday EL

Winds aren’t a factor today, but tomorrow they’ll be blowing in.


Its Alumni day and the retirement of Jim Abbott’s #31 jersey on Saturday.

For the full list of promotions, go here.


I think Michigan can win two games out of this fairly easily, but the two games I’m thinking we win are games 2 and 3.  I’m not as confident about game 3, but I think it’s winnable.  Game one should be a hell of a pitchers’ duel, facing off two of the best in the BigTen.  Game one will depend on which Michigan team shows up at the plate.  MSU isn’t a very good hitting team, so this game could come down to a 2-1 or lower score.  That said, I jokingly expect it to be some 15-13 score just because I said it would be low.

I’m hoping we see some solid pitching now that Berset is back and a slightly improved offense.  Go Blue!

Posted under Baseball

Weekend Recap: Illinois

This weekend saw Michigan face Illinois at the Fish.  Michigan managed to win only the first game by the grace of the all powerful Chris Fetter… and some guys on offense.  Also, big thanks to all the fans who showed up this weekend.  The spring game overflowed to the baseball field, getting a total of 3871 for the three games this weekend.  As Kartje at the Daily described it on Saturday:

The crowd is nuts here thanks to Spring Game overflow.  You’d think Tate Forcier was making a special appearance in the 7th inning stretch.

And on to the recap.

Game 1

Box Score R H E
Illinois 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1
Michigan 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 x 4 9 0

W – Chris Fetter (5-1)   L – Haig (3-2)   Sv – None

BTN Coverage (hopefully embedding this works):

If the embed doesn’t work for you, visit the BTN.com highlight here.  I didn’t catch the game, but just judging by the post game wrap up, I doubt I could have put up with either of these guys calling a game.  People thing Joe Morgan is bad…

The story of this game was Chris Fetter. In his second complete game of the year, Chris struck out 13 batters (about half the outs in the game), including 7 hitters that went down looking. Fetter was economical with most hitters, only throwing 136 pitches (the exact same number as his last complete game against Penn State). He only allowed 6 hits and two walks. Great game overall. Something I’m interested to keep an eye on is how these back to back complete games affect his pitching down the stretch. Fetter has been quoted by the WBCN crew during the IPFW series that he is shooting for only 120 pitches per game. I can’t blame Maloney for letting the kid get his complete game wins, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Fetter left some games sooner just to protect his arm.

On offense, we scraped to get the runs we did. In the second inning, we managed to avoid a fielder’s choice by utilizing the hit and run, we (unofficially) sacrifice flied a runner from second to third, and got the timely singles to score 2 runs. For the go ahead run in the 7th, we used the sacrifice fly to plate the run.

The positive on offense was sticking to single digit strikeouts and getting baserunners on every inning. The bad was we left runners on base every inning as well, including 4 in scoring position. If there ever was an inning to describe Michigan’s season it has to be the 6th:

Michigan 6th – Toth doubled down the lf line (0-0). Lorenz out at first 1b to 2b, SAC, bunt (0-0); Toth advanced to third. Kalczynski struck out swinging (0-2 FFS). Cislo struck out swinging (2-2 KBBSS). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

We get pressure on the other teams early then fade down the stretch. The metaphor works for the season as well. We come out with power, but the power fades as we go along. Sigh…

Notable Stars

  • Chris Fetter – CG, W, 6 H, 13 K, 2 BB, 2 ER
  • Anthony Toth – 2/4 2 R, 3B, 2B
  • Ryan LaMarre – 0/0 R, 4 BB (in 4 at bats, he saw 26 pitches, impressive)
  • Fan Attendance: 1056… best this year.

Notable Goats

  • This was solid game… everyone gets off the hook

Other Notes

  • Other Chris’s daughter caught a fly ball in the Michigan win, quoted to have said this: “This is one of the best days of my life! And if Michigan wins, it will move into the top ten.”
  • CollegeBaseballToday.com – Chris gets an Honorable Mention in the Big10 Pitchers segment…”When Chris Fetter is on the mound, Michigan becomes one of the best teams in the nation. But beyond him?…”
  • The Daily – Liveblog Redacted. If I find where it went I’ll relink it here. Update: now linked.
  • SID Release – Coach Maloney Moves Toth up to 7th in the order: “He was huge for us today. I moved him up in the order to try to keep what we consider our seven best hitters in a row, and he really came through big for us tonight.” This appears to be an attempt to limit the LOB in the middle of the order.

Game 2

Box Score R H E
Illinois 0 0 0 3 2 5 0 0 0 10 9 3
Michigan 3 0 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 8 13 2

W – Zerrusen (2-0) L – Kolby Wood (0-1) Sv – Strack (1)

So remember when I said this:

Katzman has done well lately, but that just means he’s due for a less than stellar start as well.

That happened. While Katzman didn’t have a horrible start, he certainly didn’t have the same stuff he’d had the last two weeks. He worked into a little trouble in the first with back to back singles to open the frame, but managed to eek his way out. He wasn’t so lucky in the fourth inning. Katzman loaded the bases to start the inning (sac bunt in the middle of that). He then hit a batter to force in a run, followed by a 2 RBI single from Bonadonna.

Kolby Wood would enter in relief of Katzman and get a quick out to stop the bleeding. In Wood’s first full inning of work, things started off shaky with a fielding error by Anthony Toth. With two outs and a runner on third (the one to reach on the error), Wood gave up a two run home run (both runs unearned). The next inning started similarly, but this time with a throwing error by John Lorenz. Wood then gave up back to back hits, scoring a pair of runs (one unearned). Miller would relieve him but struggled as well giving up a walk, back-to-back doubles, and a single before striking out the next two batters in the inning. This would put the Illini up 10-6, and their offense went into cruise control to the finish.

The offense was surprisingly good in this game, knocking out the Big10’s top pitcher after just one inning. Ben Reeser, the Illinois starter managed just 1 inning with 3 hits, 3 runs, and a walk. Coley Crank was the only starter without a hit, but 5 starters (Cislo, Fellows, LaMarre, Oaks, Toth) had two a piece.

If you were to tell me Michigan was going to score 8 runs on 13 hits while only stranding 8 and striking out 7 times, I’d feel pretty good about that game. Unfortunately the pitching didn’t hold us in the game. The Illini hit the big inning in the 6th; it was too much to recover from.

Notable Stars

  • Ryan LaMarre – 2/3 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 SACF, 2B
  • Kevin Cislo – 2/3 2 R, 2 BB, SB, 2B
  • Alan Oaks – 2/5 Solo-HR
  • Anthony Toth – 2/4 BB
  • Kenny Fellows – 2/4 R, 2B, SACB
  • Mike Dufek – 1/5 2B (off the top of the Brick Monster to steal a HR)
  • Attendance – Woo Spring Game crowd: 1942!
  • Coach Maloney – Ejected (see the note below)

Notable Goats

  • Toth & Lorenz – The errors to lead off the 5th and 6th innings lead to 3 unearned runs… more than the difference in the game.

Other Notes

  • Maloney was ejected in the 6th inning arguing on behalf of Kevin Cislo. There was a close safe call made at second base and the crowd didn’t like it, Cislo didn’t like it, Maloney didn’t like it. He made his way out to the umpire (I believe it was veteran umpire Bruce Doane) to make his case. According to Daily staff writer Ryan Kartje, he went “all “Lou Piniella” on the ump to waves of support from the crowd. No dirt kicking as of yet. But regardless, Maloney gets tossed from the game and the crowd loves it.” I like the move by Maloney to go for the ejection. Sometimes it can light a fire under the team. It didn’t work this time, but hey, sometimes you’ve just got to do that as a manager.
  • Daily Live Blog – as linked above in the Maloney note, Kartje live blogged the game. I really like this from the Daily. It definitely supplements the box scores really well.

Game 3

Box Score R H E
Illinois 0 3 0 2 0 0 1 4 1 11 19 0
Michigan 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 5 10 2

W – Roberts, B (3-0) L – Alan Oaks (0-1) Sv – Martin (2).

Keeping along with our recent Sunday streak, our pitching staff struggled most of the game. This game was back and forth as the scoreboard above shows, but the key came when Alan Oaks out-stayed his welcome. After already throwing 53 pitches, a career high, he trotted out to an eighth inning he wouldn’t make it out of; he gave up 3 singles and a double to start what would be a four run inning for the Illini.

In defense of Oaks, he pitched very well in the 4 innings leading up to this point, giving up just one unearned run in 4 innings of relief of Travis Smith. Speaking of Smith, his start was disappointing as well. He gave up the first 5 runs (4 earned) to the Illini in just over 3 innings of work. We really need someone to step up and earn this starting spot, whether it be Smith, Wilson, Sinnery, Vangheluwe, Wood, or someone new.

Speaking of Wilson and Sinnery, they closed the game out fairly well, throwing 2 innings while giving up only one unearned run.

Offense was top heavy – top of the lineup that is. Fellows, LaMarre, and Dufek each had a pair of hits including a homer and double by Dufek – the only extra base hits of the game. Dufek’s two hits drove in all four Wolverine RBIs in the game, and his grounded into double play also drove. Toth, Lorenz, and Kalczynski each added a hit a piece from the bottom of the lineup, but lead to no runs scored or driven in.

Notable Stars

  • Mike Dufek – 2/4 4 RBI, R, HR, 2B
  • Ryan LaMarre – 2/3 2 R
  • Kenny Fellows – 2/3 R, BB
  • Attendance – 873

Notable Goats

  • Alan Oaks (at bat) – 0/4 3 Ks, 1 LOB
  • DH/PH (Crank, Urban, & Kittle) – 0/4 K
  • Fellows & Lorenz – Errors leading to a pair of unearned runs

Other Notes

  • The Daily – Relief pitching dooms M. I respectfully disagree. Timely hitting mixed in with a lack of consistency from the bullpen and the defense behind them. There were quite a few errors to start innings for bullpen pitchers.
  • The Daily – Live Blog Game 3 is more good stuff. I love how the only comment is by “S. Toth” appealing Kartje’s notion that the team doesn’t turn too many double plays. While we may not be the Big10 leaders, we do turn our fair share of them (.82 per game as of 4/5/09)
  • Daily Illini – Haig’s start was disappointing as Fetter was great, but the Illini won the weekend series
  • Illinois Baseball Report – Dittman carries Illini this weekend

Wrap Up

While losing 2 of 3 is never a great thing, I don’t think this was too bad of a weekend for the team. Illinois is one of the better teams in the conference this season, especially in the pitching department. There were a few lapses though, especially on defense. After the great effort in game one, we had two errors in each of the last two games leading to four unearned runs. We’ve got to cut those down.

After this weekend’s action, Michigan is now 7th (tied with PSU, but Nittany Lions have the tie breaker) in the Big10 at 4-4. Only the top 6 teams make the BTT, so we’ve got some ground to make up. That starts this weekend with Michigan State. We play in East Lansing at their new ball park on Friday and Sunday, but play the middle game of the series at the Fish. All indications are that Michigan should sweep the Spartans, but they have a pitcher in Nolan Moody who poses quite a challenge.

As for the mid week, we face Toledo on Tuesday and have the rubber match with EMU in Ann Arbor on Wednesday. Toledo could be a challenge, but I don’t expect much from their mid week starter. As for EMU, we’ve already seen what they can do. I can’t see our guys taking the same “oh, its just EMU” mindset as last time.embed>

Posted under Baseball

Preview: Illinois

vs. Illinois

from uiuc.edu

7:05pm Friday, 3:05pm Saturday, 1;05pm Sunday
Ray Fisher Stadium
Ann Arbor, MI

Media Game 1: Live Stats and Audio,TV: BTN
Probable Starters Game 1: Chris Fetter (3-1) vs Haig (3-1)
Media Game 2: Live Stats and Audio
Probable Starters Game 2: Eric Katzman (4-2) vs Reeser (3-1)
Media Game 3: Live Stats and Audio
Probable Starters Game 3: TBA vs Roberts (2-0)
Series: Michigan leads 123-91-3
Last Meeting: Michigan UM won last 5
Last Michigan Loss: Recap – 3-6, (May 2007 @ UM)

Penn State Baseball Blog:  Illinois Baseball Report


I’m going to skip much of the Illinois player preview, for information, check out the Q&A with Illinois Baseball Report from Thursday.  As for the team, the Illini comes into Ann Arbor with a 19-7 record, 4-2 in Big10 (1st place).  Those Big10 games came in a sweep of Michigan State and only taking 1 of 2 against Indiana.  The high point of the Illini season has to be the series at LSU.  LSU was ranked #1 going into the weekend, but the Illinois pitching staff managed to take 2 of 3 games, placing Illinois right on the edge of many top 25 lists.  Right now they site at #85 in pseudo RPI.

Overlooking their NCAA stat rankings (4/5/09), the Illini rank 73 in batting average (.313), 55 in ERA (4.43), 52 in hits allowed per 9 innings (9.27), 42 in fielding percentage (.970), and 20 in double plays turned per game (1.16).  Individually, Bonadonna ranks 51 in steals, Wickoff is the 10th hardest man to strike out (Josh par is 67th), Reeser, Strack, & Martin all are in the top 100 ERAs in D1.

And oh yeah, we’re on TV tonight.  Finally.

The Weather

Weather looks to be good this weekend with highs in the low 50s. Might be a little cold in the opener tonight with the late start.


Winds are negilible, so no worries there.


I’ll stick with the best of the weekend from my opinion:  There’s a tailgate for Maize Rage members starting at 6pm at tonight’s game.  Free food will be available for those students for the hour leading up to the first pitch.

Other than that, there are the usual give aways and contests.  The team will give a way a couple of free rounds of golf on Sunday to celebrate the Masters tournament ending, and there is also an Easter Egg hunt for kids in 8th grade or younger in the outfield postgame Sunday.

For the full list of promotions, go here.


I’m feeling rather pesimistic after the CMU game, but I think we can still take game 1.  Michigan has had success against Haig in the past, and I can’t even bet against a good Chris Fetter start.  I’m not so optimisitc about Saturday as we take on Ben Reeser.  Katzman has done well lately, but that just means he’s due for a less than stellar start as well.  If we get good Katzman and are motivated enough by game one – no matter the outcome – may be enough to steal this game.  Sunday’s anybody’s guess, but the way our back end has pitched lately, my pessimism wants to say we have less than 50% chance of winning it.  I’d say we’re most likely to win just one game in the series.  Two games would be a mixture of luck and motivation.  A sweep… I  might not come down from the high for a week but really really really unlikely.

I’m headed out of town… now… so I won’t have the We Have History up for Illinois.  I’ll also be without TV, internet, and cell phone this weekend as I visit my grandfather.  He’s in a retirement community that is a large ranch in the middle of nowhere Texas.  As Paul put it,

god i love texas. a retirement ranch?  did you guys actually put your grandfather out to stud?

Yes, yes we did.  I’ll be back Monday hopefully to good news.  And hopefully I’ll catch a replay of the game on BTN sometime late at night in the coming week.

Posted under Baseball

Weekend Recap: Penn State

I think it’s safe to say after this weekend, getting a top 3 seed in the BigTen Tournament is virtually out of the question. Michigan dropped two of three at home against Penn State, a team who will probably end up just over .500 in conference. Michigan continued its same struggles with relief pitching. The offense continued to leave a bunch of runners on base, 28 in 3 games. The defense let 9 unearned runs score. The catchers gave 2 free bases away due to catcher’s interference. It was just a rough weekend all around.

Game 1

Box Score R H E
PSU 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 2 6 10 2
Michigan 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 7 1

W – Ignas (3-0) L – Matt Miller (0-1) Sv – None

Chris Fetter got the shaft in this game. He pitched 8 innings, on 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and 11 strikeouts; he didn’t get the win, much less a decision. In his longest start (pitch count 136(!)) in well over a year, he posted 4 different 3 up-3 down innings highlighted by a three strikeout inning in the fourth.

He did get into trouble in the 5th inning, but had the game still in hand. He gave up two runs on a couple hits, but with two outs, Timmy Kalczynski let a ball get by him to allow the unearned run to score from third. In the 6th, again with two outs, John Lorenz made a throwing error to allow a second unearned run to score. That’d be all the runs scored against Fetter, but it was enough to tie the game.

The Michigan offense started the game fairly well. After loading the bases to lead off the first, Mike Dufek grounded out to the second basemen allowing a run to score. The second baseman flipped to second to force LaMarre out, but the short stop’s throw to first went wild, allowing Fellows to score as well. Michigan had the early 2-0 advantage.

The bottom of the order went quietly in the 2nd, but the top of the lineup went back to work in the third. After Cislo lead off with a single, he would steal second base and set up a Ryan LaMarre RBI double.

Cislo also lead off the 5th by working a 7 pitch walk. Fellows followed with a hit by the pitch. With Cislo in scoring position once again, Ryan LaMarre singled to center to drive the run in.

The score would stay tied at 4 until the top of the 10th inning. Deese singled off Miller to start the inning and would steal second. We intentionally walked Steranka to set up a potential inning ending double play. That didn’t happen. A pair of singles later saw the Nittany Lions go up 6-4, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish

Notable Stars

  • Chris Fetter – 8 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 11 K
  • Kevin Cislo – 3/3 3R, BB, SB, 2B, SACB
  • Ryan LaMarre – 2/3 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2B

Notable Goats

  • John Lorenz – Error lead to a run
  • Nick Urban – Called out on batter’s interference
  • Jake McLouth – 0/3 2 K, 3 LOB

Other Notes

  • Notes

Game 2

Box Score R H E
PSU 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 5 9 0
Michigan 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 2 x 9 13 3

W – Eric Katzman (5-2) L – Kelley (4-4) Sv – Dufek (3)

So at least the score worked out in our favor this time. Yet again, we saw a great pitching performance nearly squandered, this time by Eric Katzman. Katzman has hit a hot streak again, and I’m hoping it continues this way for the next few weeks. In this game he went 7.1 innings, allowing 7 hits and 5 runs (2 earned), on 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. Katzman, like Fetter in game one, also threw well over his usual number of pitches, finishing with an even 120 on the day. He, again like Fetter, also had 4 different 3 up/3 down innings. If he could pitch like this every week, he’d be up for BigTen pitcher of the year with Fetter.

The one blemish on the night came in the 7th inning when Penn State scored 5 runs. Katzman allowed a double and single to open the inning, but got two quick outs via fly ball and strikeout. Things were looking good until the next batter singled up the middle to give up two runs (only earned runs of the inning). On the play, LaMarre committed a throwing error. The error lead to a run on the very next play, a single. The next batter would ground the ball to John Lorenz; unfortunately, that didn’t end the inning either. Two runners would score on the wild throw by Lorenz, plating 3 unearned runs in the frame. Michigan was down 5-2. Ball sack.

The good news is Michigan didn’t give up. In the bottom half of the 7th, Kalczynski, who would both lead off and end the inning, started things off with a solo home run. A pitching change for Penn State turned out poorly as the next batter, Toth, would be hit by the pitch followed by a Cislo walk. Fellows then sacrificed the runners over, leaving LaMarre (who also homered the inning before) with an easy two RBIs by way of the single. Dufek then cleared the bases with a home run of his own. That’s a five run inning of Michigan’s own.

LaMarre wasn’t done. The next inning, after a lead off single by Toth, he would blast his second home run of the day. Michigan then had the 9-5 lead they wouldn’t give up.

Notable Stars

  • Eric Katzman – 7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, W
  • Ryan LaMarre – 4/5 5 RBI, 3 R, 2 HR, 2B
  • Alan Oaks – 3/3 R, RBI, HR, 2 2B
  • Mike Dufek – 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 K, 0 R; 1/5 2 RBI, R, HR

Notable Goats

  • Ryan LaMarre – Throwing error for a run, also didn’t end the inning leading to the following:
  • John Lorenz – Throwing error for 2 runs
  • Tim Kalcyznski – catcher’s interference for a free base
  • Coley Crank – 0/4 K as DH

Other Notes

  • notes

Game 3

Box Score R H E
PSU 1 0 1 2 5 3 0 4 0 16 20 2
Michigan 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 5 8 3

W – Cianciolo (2-0) L -Travis Smith (4-3) Sv – None

I made it back home to catch the last few innings of this game. I almost wish I hadn’t. Michigan threw 6 pitchers in this game. Only two, Vangheluwe and ALAN OAKS, had what I would consider to be success (not that they didn’t give up any runs, but that they didn’t give up more runs than innings pitched). The emphasis on Alan Oaks isn’t really that emphatic, he has two appearances in 2007. Those two appearances were opposite ends of the spectrum. The first was a third of an inning against EMU where he hit a couple batters and walked one to give up a run on no hits. His second came against Vandy in the regional where he pitched a scoreless/hitless 1.2 innings with a walk and a strikeout (against that year’s manbearfreak of college baseball Pedro Alvarez).

The only other good came off the bats of LaMarre, Dufek, and Crank who each homered, and Alan Oaks who went 2/5 with a double.

The rest of the game was just bad. Crank (one run) and Kalcyznski each had an error at catcher. Toth had one for good measure too (2 runs). Crank also had a passed ball for an unearned run. Kalczynski also gave up a free base to a catcher’s interference call. Twice in as many games? Timmy Kal, back of the plate, man.

Notable Stars

  • Alan Oaks – 2/5 2B; 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, K, HBP

Notable Goats

  • Toth, Crank, Kalczynski – reasons listed in that last paragraph of the recap
  • Mike Wilson – .2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB (there were more runs, but not his fault)
  • Matt Gerbe – 0.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BF
  • Kevin Cislo – 0/4 3 LOB

Other Notes

  • Notes

Wrap Up

We’re tied (4-way) for fifth, and only 1 game behind the first place team. That is lucky as hell after the way we’ve played the last two weekends. My expectations for the team are falling pretty fast. With the massive amount of inconsistency, added with the sloppy play all weekend on defense, I’m not sure we get higher than a 4 seed in the BTT now. But as Eric Sorenson states, it can be done:

Hmmm, with the rest of the Big 10 playing some wicked-good baseball, maybe this signifies a paradigm shift at the top. Minnesota, fresh off a series win over No. 24 Ohio State, and Illinois, who lost two of three vs. Indiana, now take the reins of the top of the conference standings. There IS a way back for the Maize and Blue though. The Wolverines host both the Illini and the Gophers starting next week with UI.

The good news is the power part of the offense seems to be clicking right now. The bad news is the manufacturing of runs is still way low. We did see a slight increase in sacrifice bunts over the last two weeks, and they did lead to some runs. That said though, Michigan still stranded 28 runners in the series. We’ve got to start getting those runs in. We hit into 4 double plays this weekend, 3 in the Game 1 loss. We struck out 27 times as well, including 12 times in the Game 1 loss and 10 in the Game 3 loss.

Tim Kalcyznski was quoted in the Daily as thus:

“This could be a turning point,” Kalczynski said. “It could go one of two ways. It could go uphill really fast or downhill really fast. It’s just a matter of how mentally tough we are and how we respond.”

Next weekend is our chance to redeem ourselves and perhaps jump ahead in the standings. Michigan hosts the top team in the BigTen standings in Illinois. The Illini sit atop alone (two teams are tied for second at 3-2) with a 4-2 record. The Illini swept Michigan State in week 1 of Big10 play, but dropped 2 games this weekend at Indiana. The Illini feature some great pitching, so it may be tough pickings for runs again this weekend.

As for the midweek, the Akron game has already been canceled due to the snow storm (ha! It’s 75 degrees where I’m at today, and that’s after a cold front). The Wednesday game versus Central Michigan is still set for 6:05pm.

Posted under Baseball