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All BigTen Baseball Awards

The BigTen released their All BigTen, POTY, and Sportsmanship awards today.  Michigan has a few showing up on the lists.

FIRST TEAM
1B – Mike Dufek, MICH
SP – Chris Fetter, MICH

SECOND TEAM
OF – Ryan LaMarre, MICH

THIRD TEAM
No one

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
No one

SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
Kenny Fellows, MICH

I’m don’t think there was anyone who was skipped over in this list.  Lorenz stood no chance against Penn State’s Steranka for All Freshman third basemen.  McLouth had no chance against Freshman of the Year Dickerson of Indiana.  Cislo wasn’t as good this year.  Fellows probably just missed being on the third team. Berset missed too much time and would have needed a strong full campaign to overtake the 3rd team catcher.  None of our pitchers deserve all conference representation.  It was a down year, here’s hoping next year will be better.

I’ll work on getting a end of season post out tomorrow. I’m furiously packing for a trip to New York next week.  I’m also contemplating taking a couple days to float the river north of San Antonio.  So it’s probably good Michigan didn’t make the tournament, I’d be out of posting capabilities for way too long.

Posted under Baseball

Baseball Seniors Roundtable

The six seniors on the Michigan Baseball team had a round table discussion reflecting on their time here in Ann Arbor recently, and it was posted today on MGoBlue.  Some quality stuff came from all six: Ben Jenzen, Timmy Kal, Mike Wilson, Kevin Cislo, Kenny Fellows, and Chris Fetter.  They covered topics from greatest memories, to how injuries changed their season, to their thoughts on Coach Maloney, to momentos from the lockerroom, and finally, to legacy.  It’s a great read.  I’ll just quote the humor here, but the whole thing is worth the read.

On what they would take from “The Fish” as a memento…

Cislo: “This plasma TV” (laughter)

Kalczynski: “I would take my locker. I have had some of the best conversations with my teammates at this locker and that is something I would love to have.”

Wilson: “I want one of these couches (large blue leather couch with a M logo embroidered in the middle cushion)… these things are so comfortable.”

Jenzen: “I would either take the ping pong table or Kim (athletic trainer Kim Hill).” … (loud laughter)

Go read it now. Make it out to the last BigTen weekend series of these Michigan Men™. Go Blue.

Side note:  I guess this means Ben Jenzen won’t be returning after a medical redshirt season.  Bummer, he was a great pitcher.

Posted under Baseball

Swept in Doubleheader

Michigan was swept in two games of the doubleheader at Ohio State today. Game one was an Alex Wimmers no hitter, the first 9-inning no hitter in the school’s history. Chris Fetter pitched well, but things fell apart late after Chris Berset lost a pop up behind the plate with 2 outs. The ball fell foul, the next pitch was driven into right center and 2 runs scored. OSU would add 3 more in the 7th, again, after an error to extend the inning. I don’t think Toth would have turned the double play even with a good throw, but instead it went into the dugout allowing another run to score.

Despite the no hitter, Michigan still managed a few base runners. Twice they were erased because we tried to hit and run with 2 strikes on a batter. Both times Wimmers threw a pitch way up out of the strike zone leading to a strike’em out-throw’em out double play. Burkhart gunned Fellows again in a later inning and should have had Cislo before the strike’em out-throw’em out but the shortstop dropped the ball. So if you’re keeping track at home, we walked 4 times and reached on an error, we left only one man on base.

Its also worth noting that the middle infielders for Ohio State saved this no-no twice. Kovanda made a full extension diving catch to steal a hit from LaMarre and Engle at shortstop made a diving play to turn a single from Nick Urban into a double play. Both were awesome plays.

The offense tried to make up for it in game two knocking 10 hits, but they were no match for the Buckeye and their 15 hits. Tyler Burgoon got the start, wasn’t helped by his defense, and didn’t help himself after getting into trouble either. Burgoon gave up 6 earned runs in 1.2 innings of work. Nick Urban, playing his originally recruited position of second base, also lead to an unearned run.

Mike Wilson was the first reliever and had a good outing compared to his norm. He only gave up one run in 1.1 innings pitched, but he did walk 2. Chris Berset committed an error to advance a runner, but it didn’t affect the score as the runner would have scored on an ensuing hit anyways.

Kolby Wood was the highlight on the mound for the game. He lasted 4 innings of scoreless baseball giving Michigan a chance to comeback. Comeback they did as they rallied to bring the game back to 6-7.

Matt Miller came in to close out the 7th and pitch in the 8th. In the eighth he started the inning with a walk and a hit by pitch. Two sacrifices and a single later, 2 runs would cross the plate to give OSU the final 9-6 lead. The BigTen’s best closer, Jake Hale came in to shut us down and earn his 11th save of the season.

Kevin Cislo didn’t play in this game and I’m not sure why. If anyone has any ideas, let me know in the comments.

I’ve got a trio of exams on Monday, so this will be my review of those two games for now. I may have a better recap of things later in the week.

Highlights via BTN (ignore “Josh” Lorenz, Jake “McLooth,” and Chris “Burst”):

Don’t be surprised if the embed doesn’t work. I think Paul has the settings to where an admin has to post embeds. If it’s not here now, we’ll get it up soon.

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

MidWeek Round Up: EMU Doubleheader

Midweek games don’t mean anything anymore in terms of making the post season, but since they do offer a chance for players to gain experience, coaches to tweak lineups, and the team to gain some momentum, I guess I can keep you informed on the midweek.  This time around it was a pair of 7-inning games at the Fish versus Eastern Michigan.  This was the third and fourth game of the season, both teams entering 1-1 against each other.

I’m going to focus on pitching for these two recaps, as they were the obvious focus.  Several bench guys saw playing time and the lineup was shaken up a little bit to accomodate for those guys.  I’ll touch on offense quickly at the end.

Game one of the twin bill was a close one, seeing Michigan jump ahead, fall behind, then seal the win with a late inning comeback.  Coach Maloney took the doubleheader as an opportunity to get in as many pitchers as he could, starting with Matt Miller.  Miller looked good, going 2 innings with no runs, 2 walks, and a strikeout.

Kolby Wood came in to pitch in the third inning and got himself into and out of trouble.  After hitting the leadoff batter with the pitch, he then threw away a pick off attempt past first baseman Garrett Stephens.  He eventually would strand the runner at third.  In his second inning of work, Wood would also give up a solo-homerun.  The outing wasn’t that bad for Wood.  He did get into some higher counts (41 pitches, 25 strikes), but that’s kind of been his norm.

Enter Mike Wilson, exit Mike Wilson.  In just 1/3 of an inning, Mike induced a pop up, walked a batter, then gave up a two run homer, tying the game.  Short leash for Mike, but the team was in to win.  Wilson’s still nowhere near his 2007 form.

Brandon Sinnery came into mop up the inning, giving up a hit, but not allowing the runner past first base.  His second inning saw some trouble.  After the EMU second baseman reached on a fielding error by Mike Kittle (playing second), Sinnery walked the next batter.  He would strikeout the next EMU hitter, but was pulled for Burgoon.

Burgoon, in his first game back from the minor shoulder injury, did well.  He induced a fly out on 2 pitches to end the 6th, and ran into trouble to start the 7th.  He’d hit the lead off hitter.  The next batter tried the sacrifice bunt, but was unsuccessful, bunting the ball hard back toward Burgoon who wheeled and went to second.  The final batter would then ground into a double play.  Burgoon would get the win.

Want pictures? OK:

Game Two‘s pitching didn’t go so hot.  The first clue should have been that Jeff DeCarlo was announced as the starter.  While I harp on Mike Wilson sometimes for his lack of success, DeCarlo is quite a bit lower on my “trust him to make outs” ladder.  Jeff’s struggled a bit the last year and a half.  He’ll see spot appearances, but he doesn’t seem to be threatening to make too many legitamate starts any time soon.  This game was just a continuation of his struggles.  His 1/3 of an inning went like this: homer, groundout, single, homer, single. His ERA jumped from 17.18 to 24.75… yikes.

Travis Smith then came in to try and stop the bleeding.  At that point, only 3 runs had scored.  Smith would give up another single to put runners at first and third.  A wild pitch later and Michigan was down 4-0 after just half an inning.  Smith’s next inning went smoother, allowing just one walk.  Michigan tied the game in the bottom of the second, just to see the lead disappear on a Andrew Marshall solo homerun for the Eagles (his second of the game).  Smith gave up two more hits that inning, but wouldn’t give up another run.

Only two pitchers had a higher ERA than Jeff DeCarlo heading into this game, one was Kevin Vangheluwe (the other is team high 27.00 by Losorelli in one appearance).  He would come in relief next.  He, like DeCarlo, wouldn’t make it out of his first inning of work.  His inning:  single,  bunt single, 3-run homer, walk (I think I’d pull him here?),  single (definitely here, bullpen slow to warm up?), fielder’s choice, strikeout, single.  Five of his baserunners would score, one of his -luckily?- scored because of an error making it unearned.  The ERA jumped from 19.18 to 23.63.

Speaking of that error, it was the first batter Matt Gerbe would face, grounding a ball to shortstop.  Toth couldn’t field it cleanly, leading to a run.  Matt did get the team out of the inning with another ground ball on the next batter.  Gerbe would finish the game (3.1 innings), including two 1-2-3 innings in the 5th and 6th.  In the 7th, Gerbe allowed of a leadoff single then walk.  After a sacrifice bunt and a hit by pitch, he would induce two groundouts, one of which scored a run. Michigan lost 11-5.

So this game went much worse from a pitching perspective, but I think if you’d told me DeCarlo was starting and Vangheluwe would throw in relief, I would have expected some bad to happen.  Take away their 8 earned runs, and this is a totally different ball game.  It’s hard to defend the home run ball, and EMU had 4 in this game, accounting for 7 runs.  Those hurt.

Offensively, game one was really bad.  We managed 5 hits, 2 by Fellows, 2 by Toth, and one homerun by Mike Dufek. Beside those three, the rest of the bats never got going.  The good news was we only struck out 3 times in the game, a season low (previous season low was 4 Ks at EMU in the second game of the season series).

Game two went a a little bit better, but still wasn’t great.  No one really stood out as above the average, eight different Wolverines each registered one hit.  LaMarre had a home run, and Chris Berset had a double of his own.  Toth stranded 3 runners; LaMarre had 2 (team total of 7).  We also struck out only 6 times, which is two below the season average.  I’ll take that.

Burgoon and Berset both returned to the team in this doubleheader, and it couldn’t come at a better time.  Burgoon restores a little bit of order to the bullpen, giving us a solid option to close or set up a closer.  I think we’re headed to a closer by committee.  No one has really dominated since early in the season.  Berset brings better play to the catcher’s box and into the lineup.  He went 1/4 this weekend with a double and a walk.  As I said in the CMU recap, I think this is Berset’s team to take over.  He has the chance to create be the spark over the next few weekends to turn around the poor play.

Other Notes:

  • Kevin Cislo sat the doubleheader out, just making one pinch hit appearance.
  • Non-everyday players Garrett Stephens (1B), Mike Kittle (2B), Nick Urban (RF/2B), Coley Crank (RF), Tim Kalczynski (3B) all made extended appearances on defense
  • Coach Maloney on the season (I’m becoming less hopeful on the pitching):

“I think game one here today is an indication of what I thought this team would be. Coming up with a clutch hit like Dufek’s home run, making some great defensive plays and scrapping together some runs when it mattered most to win a ballgame. What I didn’t anticipate from this team was the way we played in game two and that has been all too familiar a scenario for us this season. We have not pitched well enough. I am still hopeful, as crazy as it may sound, despite watching us that we will turn this thing around. I know that these guys are better than that. I am hoping that at some point, they just let go of themselves so they can compete like I know they can.”

  • The Daily – Live Blog.
  • Tim & Paul in the Trike-ening.  Paul didn’t center his weight over the front tire, therefore reducing his normal force and decreasing the coefficient of rolling friction (You sound like you were a Michigan engineer – Paul).  Timmy Kal let him know his flaw, but it was too late.

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

MidWeek Closeout: Central Michigan

Now that I’ve let the nerves and stomach settle from the initial reactions to the awful box score, I’ll actually comment on Wednesday night’s game against CMU. For those of you who couldn’t pick up from the first sentence of this paragraph, or even my ambiguous post about softball, the Michigan baseball team lost in embarrassing fashion to Central Michigan on Wednesday – 10-2 the final score.

The game featured 7 Wolverine pitchers making a trip to the mound. Coach Maloney was seeking some sort of spark from the starting rotation and started freshman Kevin Vangheluwe, but, as many other things with Michigan baseball lately, when it rains it pours, completely dousing any chance of a spark to happen. Kevin couldn’t make it out of the second inning, giving up 4 runs while only recording 2 outs.

Things never got much better after that. Wilson gave up a run in 1.1 innings, Matt Miller gave up 2 runs (1 earned), and Brandon Sinnery gave up 3 runs in 0.1 innings. The good news is Travis Smith looked good in the short 1.1 inning appearance, as did Kolby Wood and Alan Oaks throwing a perfect 2.2 innings to finish the game.

Defense wasn’t much prettier. Along with a throwing error on a double play chance by Toth and a throwing error on a bunt single by Lorenz, there were several reported brain lapses on the field. Nick Urban was pulled from third base after failing to cover third base, allowing a pair of runners to advance. Five(!) balls hit to the outfield should have been caught but weren’t. One I give Fellows a break for as he slipped on the turf that was still wet from the snow last weekend, but the other four could – and most probably should – have been caught, including the play in this picture from Liesa Thompson at the Ann Arbor News:

That's a catch that should be made.

We didn’t do well behind the plate either. Kalczynski had his 9th passed ball of the year. He bobbled another transition on a base stealing attempt, dropping the ball. He would eventually be replaced by McLouth during the middle of that same inning during a pitching change. That pitching change? It was on an 0-2 count when Maloney pulled Sinnery. Pulling a pitcher on 0-2? What’s going on?

The offense was anemic this game. Despite Alan Oaks great outing on the mound, his plate appearances were atrocious. He went 0/4 with 2 Ks, a foul out to second base, and a 4-6-3 double play. He stranded 4 runners on base to end innings.

The 6 hits Michigan mustered came from 6 different players. Fellows, Cislo, LaMarre, Dufek, Crank, Kalczynski each had a hit-a-piece, Cislo and LaMarre’s being doubles. The team only managed multiple hits in one inning, the 8th, where they scored just one run. The run in the 9th came by walks and errors on behalf of CMU.

If you want a positive in all this, we only stranded 6 runners (would have been 2 more if not for a pair of grounded into double plays) and we only struck out 7 times… only 7 times….

In defense of some of the hitting, Coach Maloney made an attempt to stir up the lineup in this game. The starting lineup looked like this:

  • Fellows, Kenny lf
  • Toth, Anthony ss
  • Cislo, Kevin 2b
  • LaMarre, Ryan cf
  • Dufek, Mike 1b
  • Urban, Nick 3b
  • Crank, Coley dh
  • Oaks, Alan rf/p
  • Kalczynski, Tim c

Some of this makes some sense. Toth has raised his average to a point where he would look attractive in the 2-hole. Fellows is getting on base enough and has the ability to steal bases; he’s alright for a 1-hole, but not the most attractive choice. Alan Oaks dropping down makes sense with the bottom of this line up, too. Kalczynski makes sense in the 9-hole as well as he has been doing a little bit better about getting on base.

What’s Going On?

Michigan isn’t the same team its been the last few years. We lost the best team we’ve had since the CWS runs in the 80s. We have a group of 5 walk ons that lead the team. Two of them were either cut or virtually told to go elsewhere for playing time:

Coach Rich Maloney cut Kenny Fellows from the University of Michigan baseball team during his freshman-season tryout. Two years later, Maloney told Tim Kalczynski he could transfer if he wanted playing time.

We have several players playing out of their original positions. Urban was a walk-on middle infielder turned outfielder who is occasionally thrown into third base. Kalczynski was once a walk-on outfielder playing catcher and occasionally third base.

Add in our youth and inexperience, and you’ve some problems. Lorenz is a true freshman who didn’t even play his senior year of high school ball. McLouth and Crank are making the best they can of their early playing time, but neither has been that consistent. They’re freshman.

Once you start looking at the scholarship players, many of them are just in their first year of starting as well. Michigan lost Nate Recknagel, Adam Abraham, Jason Christian, Leif Mahler, and Zach Putnam this off season from the offensive starting lineup. Berset, Dufek, and LaMarre contributed a lot, but they weren’t the leaders. They will hopefully be that one day, but right now they are just sophomores and juniors.

Kevin Cislo is the player I’m looking to right now to pick up the team. Maybe this is why Coach Maloney moved him to the three hole. Put him right in the middle of everything and see what happens. Let him try and spark the team. Let him lead. The problem with this is Kevin isn’t a three hole hitter. Unlike Iowa who can throw Toole in the center of the lineup to generate offense, Michigan doesn’t have the same team build. We have power hitters, they need runners on in front of them who can move themselves into scoring position to be hit in.

Pitching isn’t much different than the offense. We don’t have experience. What experience we have in the starting staff is either very good (Fetter) or meh (Wilson). Katzman is in his first season as a starter. Smith hasn’t had a full season of starts yet and he’s just a sophomore. In relief, we don’t have that dominate guy. As much as I hoped Burgoon would be that guy, he’s not.

We’re a young team; we’re an inexperienced team. We’re a not that great team. It is what it is.

How Do We Fix It?

This is the toughest question on Maloney’s mind I’m sure. I think we have two options at this point.

1) We need an upperclassman to step up and really take over this team. He needs to call a players only meeting and say all those right things, but more importantly, he needs to back it up with his play on the field. He needs to be the enforcer, not Coach Maloney. He needs to be the one picking up guys. He needs to be the one getting on a guys case when he’s out of position.

During the preseason, and even into the first few weeks of the season, I thought Chris Berset was going to be the one to do this. I thought this was Chris’s team to take over. Maybe its the catcher in me that makes me feel this, but the catcher that runs much of the show. Sure its probably coincidence that we went from 7-2 with Berset to only 11-9 without him. I think his value to our lineup cannot be matched from Crank and Kalczynski, neither can his leadership. I’m not sure when he’s due back, but its not soon enough.

2) Our hitting coach (whether that be Maloney and Ust) has to step up his game. Something has to be done about our strikeout rate. Something has to be done about moving runners into scoring position and knocking them in.

The worst thing that can happen now is the team starts putting too much unnecessary pressure on themselves. That will just force more bad habits.  As Coach says:

“They may even be trying more than they should be trying. I don’t know. But right now it’s more psychological than it is anything else. It’s not the opponent – we are the opponent. We’re beating ourselves.”

We’ll see how we do against Illinois this weekend.  Wake up boys, its time to produce.

Posted under Baseball

Mid Week Roundup

Before I get into the recap of the two midweek games (and oh, what a pair they were), a couple of things to close out the previous weekend:

Poll Watch

Poll Current LW
RPI (3/23/09) 157 112
NCBWA NR NR*
Collegiate Baseball NR NR
BaseballAmerica NR NR
Ping!Baseball NR NR
Rivals NR NR
USA Today/ESPN 40* 42*

As you can see Michigan dropped out of the Writer’s poll finally and the RPI took a hit, too.  The Coaches Poll still manages to get Michigan votes, but why – I just don’t know.  This team is playing nowhere near the caliber of play to deserve a ranking.  Some of these coaches need to do nothing more than look at our 8 losses.  As for RPI, our soft schedule and poor showing lately have left us now in the bottom half of Division 1.  There is no way to make the tournament without winning the BigTen title now.

Links From Earlier in the Week

Michigan Daily Sports blog “The Game” named Kenny Fellows athlete of the week for his performance on Sunday.  Apparently they didn’t pay much attention to the rest of the weekend

The Daily also featured a column by Tim Rohan about needing to play more small ball.  I think article dances around the subject a lot, but I agree that we need to move the runners around a bit more.  The strikeouts are worriesome, so are the pickoffs.  Coming into the mid week games, we’ve been picked off 11 times.  In comparison we’ve only picked off 6.  The national average is a shade below 6.

Timmy Kalcyznski did a liveblog-ish type post over the weekend at Iowa.  Bus trouble was rampant, crazy antics everywhere, veterans treating rookies like rookies.  Very entertaining read.

Dufek, Cislo, and Fetter all make the BigTen Hardball All Weekend Team.  Fetter’s complete game only earns him the #3 starter, and rightfully so.  There were plenty of complete games in the BigTen this weekend.  Iowa had 3 pitchers make the team.

Bowling Green

Box Score R H E
BGSU 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 2 8 12 1
Michigan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 5 3

W – Gerdeman (1-2) L – Brandon Sinnery (1-2)  Sv – Hawk (2)

Thank goodness for automatic bids to the NCAA; it is our only chance to make the dance now.  I was lucky enough to be working during this game, as the box score looks ugly as I don’t know what.   Michigan lost every aspect (pitching, offense, baserunning, and defense) in this game.  It was just all around ugly.

We’ll start with the offense.  Michigan had 5 hits in this game, 3 of them came in the 7th. Dufek opened the frame with the longball, scoring the first run of the game.  After a McLouth walk, Oaks followed up with a homerun of his own.  Toth knocked a single (his second of the game) with two outs, but he was caught stealing.

That’s pretty much it.  Fellows had a double in the 6th with 2 outs but was stranded.  Three runs against a team that ranks 232 out of 288 NCAA teams ranked in ERA?  Striking out 9 times against a team that only averages 5.7 a game?  Ouch.

On the mound, things didn’t fair much better.  Brandon Sinnery threw four innings, and I’m not entirely sure why.  His pitch count was on 66, and judging by the play by play, he had really settled down nicely after the rough first inning.  The first inning saw Brandon give up 3 runs on four hits and a hit batsmen.  He followed up by retiring 9 for the next 11 batters.

Matt Miller came in to relieve Sinnery and started things off by giving up a lead off home run.  Great start. He gave up a single right after that, but managed to work his way out of any further damage.

The 6th inning run can be placed squarely on Lorenz.  With one out and a runner on first, Lorenz fielded a ground ball and went for two.  This was the throwing error of the inning, allowing the runners to advance to second and third.  During the next at bat, Lorenz was charged with a fielding error on a pick off attempt at third base allowing the run to score.

Bowling Green added another run charged to Miller in the 8th.  After giving up a walk in a bunt single, Miller was removed for Dufek who gave up a sacrifice bunt and fly to score the run.  Dufek would give up one more earned run in the ninth from a double and single back-to-back with two outs.  On the same single, LaMarre misplayed the ball allowing runners to advance, including one run to score (unearned).  Another run would come in on the next batter as he singled to right – that run also unearned.

Just ugly everywhere.  As said at the outset of this recap, it’s BigTen Tournament title or bust for this team now.   The rest of the mid week games mean absolutely nothing.

Notable Stars

  • Anthony Toth – 2/3  hitting streak at 10 games
  • Dufek/Oaks – All 3 RBIs on a pair of 7th inning homeruns, Dufek’s hitting streak is 15

Notable Goats

  • John Lorenz – 2 Errors in an inning leading to a run
  • Ryan LaMarre – Error lead to two runs (this may be less of a problem if it was wind induced, but I haven’t heard the game yet, somebody leave a comment if they have details)
  • Offense as a unit – 5 hits? Really?
  • Kevin Cislo – 0/4  First time he hasn’t reached base in 68 games

Other Notes

Oakland

Box Score R H E
Oakland 0 2 6 0 0 1 4 0 0 13 14 0
Michigan 0 0 2 1 9 1 0 1 X 14 15 2

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

Wow, wow.  This game was ugly.  Just how ugly?  Let’s let Ann Arbor News writer Kevin Ryan tell you how bad it was:

The victory, which put Michigan at 16-7 on the season, came after 3 hours and 57 minutes of play. The game needed 14 pitchers, featured 10 doubles among 29 hits, 48 base-runners and had more foul balls than fans in the stands at 6:30 p.m. (there were 94 on-lookers, to be exact).

In all fairness to the fans, the game started with 694 fans at the game when it was still sunny and warm out.  Both teams looked pretty horrible for large stretchs of this game driving down attendance.

I’m not going to try and recap all of the game, but we’ll walk through a couple key points, starting with pitching.  It started really badly.  Kolby Wood showed signs of rust in the 2nd and 3rd innings, the latter he would never escape from.  Reliever Jeff DeCarlo was worse.  He only gave up one hit in his 1/3 of an inning pitched, but he did manage to walk 3 and hit a batter while giving up 4 runs.  In all, he threw 23 pitches, 8 were strikes.

Gerbe came in to finish the third inning, but the damage was pretty much done already.  He worked himself in and out of a few jams, allowing an unearned run in the 6th (Lorenz throwing error).  He lost control to start the 7th and would eventually be credited with a pair of earned runs.

Burgoon came in here and couldn’t get out of the inning.  He ended up leaving early with an yet undisclosed injury.  Katzman came in to stop the bleeding and pitched 1 1/3 innings allowing only one baserunner via hit by pitch.  Dufek asked for the ball on short rest to close out the ninth.

Offense went a little bit better.  Four batters (Fellows, LaMarre, Dufek, and Kalcyznski) each had multiple hit games.  Six starters had multiple RBIs, four had multiple runs scored.  Out of the 15 hits, 9 were doubles.  Mike Kittle, filling in for the supposedly injured Cislo, was the only batter without a hit in the game, but even he walked once.

Notable Stars

  • Ryan LaMarre – 3/3  3 R, 3 RBI, 2b, 2 BBs (5/5 on base)
  • Mike Dufek – 3/5 R,  3 RBI, BB, 3 2bs, BB (hitting streak 16 games)
  • Kenny Fellows – 3/5  2 R, 2 RBI, 2 2bs, BB (hitting lead off)

Notable Goats

  • Fellows and Lorenz – each had an error, neither lead to runs though
  • Jeff DeCarlo – 1/3 IP, H, 3 BB, HBP, 4 ER;  honestly I never expect from DeCarlo, but this was just pretty bad.

Other Notes

Cislo was supposedly hurt coming into this game and was held out of the starting lineup.  He did make an appearance as a defensive replacement in the top of the 9th inning making a pretty good bare hand play to get a ball deflected off the pitcher Dufek’s glove.   The injury hasn’t been disclosed to any media outlet I’ve seen; hopefully he’s back to 100% by the weekend.

Speaking of injury, I missed the exit by Burgoon, so I’m not sure what happened there.  MGoBlue.com generally has a day or so lay over before you can go back and listen to games, so if anyone heard the call or has the information, leave a note in the comments.  Hopefully its something minor and we’ll have him back by mid weekend.

And while this game may be one of the few higher scoring ugly games we see all season, at least it was close unlike this 49-1 routing of Kentucky State by Eastern Kentucky.

Headed to the Weekend

Penn State comes to Ann Arbor this weekend for the home opener of the Big10 season.  I hope to get out a preview sometime tomorrow night late.  Tomorrow is my day to catch up on everything before another busy weekend.  I’ll miss the first two games of the series as I head over to Austin for a little tourism in Hippie Land.

Posted under Baseball

Weekend Recap: Iowa

I’ve had a really busy weekend full of umpiring and school related things, so this was pushed back a day.  Just a reminder, Michigan is at home today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3:05pm for a pair of mid week games again Bowling Green and Oakland respectively.  Get out and support the baseball team! –FA

Game 1

Box Score R H E
Michigan 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 4 8 0
Iowa 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 1

W – Chris Fetter (4-1) L – Schatz (1-1) Sv – None

The team sputtered out of the game, collecting several hits, but never having the big inning. In the first inning, Iowa start Nick Brown went 1-2-3 through the top of the order on just 13 pitches.  Cislo, who is ranked nationally for fewest strikeouts per at bat, and Fellows both K’d to start the game, and LaMarre was robbed of a single by Brown who showed he can also field his position well, grabbing a line shot right at him.  Chris Fetter even came out in this game looking a little shaky.  Fetter gave up 3 hits (one double) and a walk in the inning, allowing 3 runs – all earned.  Iowa came out swinging but Michigan wasn’t going down without a fight.

In the top of the second, Michigan answered right back, capitalizing on a Hawkeye error to open the inning.  The tone was set on the opening pitch of the inning when Mike Dufek lined a hard grounder at the first basemen, who couldn’t come up with the ball.  McLouth followed up with a single and Oaks walked to load the bases, setting up John Lorenz with a big RBI opportunity.  Lorenz fell short of the RBI, but in name only.  Dufek would score when Lorenz grounded into a 6-4-3 double play (double plays negate RBIs).  Timmy Kal closed out the scoring in the 2nd with an RBI single to score McLouth.

Fetter also came out more focused in the second inning.  Over the next 8 innings (yes, he threw a complete game), Fetter would allow only 2 more base runners, both from singles; one of those base runners was caught stealing, therefore only causing Fetter to face 25 batters in 8 innings.  Fetter was absolutely dealing.  He struck out 9 batters on the day while inducing 10 ground ball outs.  That’s a pretty solid total.  He’s definitely the player of the game.

Michigan got the go ahead run in the 8th after starter Nick Brown was relieved by Schatz.  Schatz didn’t give up a hit in the inning, but he did have two hit batsmen and a walk, allowing Kevin Cislo to fly out just deep enough into center to get pinch runner Nick Urban in safely.

I think Coach Dahm at Iowa explained it least best:

“We didn’t make many mistakes tonight, but the mistakes we did make they (Michigan) capitalized on them.

Yeah Coach, that makes a ton of sense.

Notable Stars

  • Chris Fetter – 9 IP, 3 ER, BB, 9 K, CG, W
  • Mike Dufek – 2/3 RBI, R, 2 BB

Notable Goats (stretching for these)

  • Kenny Fellows – Only player not to reach base
  • Jake McLouth – Stranded 4 runners

Other Notes

  • Iowa Press-Citizen – Iowa put up a fight but was no match for Fetter
  • The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) – Iowa played tough and is getting better, still not good

Game 2

Box Score R H E
Michigan 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 6 0
Iowa 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 6 0

W – Turnbull  (1-0) L – Eric Katzman (3-2) Sv – Schurz (3)

The weather went cold and so did the bats.  This game was a pitchers duel from start to finish, with neither team appearing particularly loose.  Michigan had their chances, stranding 1st and 3rd in the 2nd, being picked off at third with a runner at first in the 3rd, stranding runners at 2nd and 3rd in the 5th, and stranding runners at 1st and 3rd in the 7th for a total of seven left on base.

It seemed like Michigan could never get going unless there were already two outs in the inning.  Of those innings where we stranded multiple runners (or were picked off in the 3rd), all 6 runners reached base with two outs.  Only in the 7th were we able to string enough hits with two outs to score a run.

Two players were charged with 6 of the total LOB, Toth (4) and Kalcyznzki (2).  While Kalcynzski will do this from time to time, Toth generally doesn’t leave that many on base.  Part of what contributed to this problem was Coach Maloney moving him back into the 2-hole, reversing the switch from the Akron game.  It appears with the recent success Toth has had, and the slight slump Fellows was facing going into this game, Maloney wanted to try and spark the offense.  So much for that idea, huh?  FWIW, Coach did switch them back in game three, the results of which are forthcoming.

On the mound, Katzman had a pretty damn good game.  He went 6 1/3 innings, givnig up 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 9.  That is a little bit better than your normal Katzman, so Coach has to feel good about that.  Matt Miller and Tyler Burgoon came in relief of Katzman.  Miller only faced one batter, walking him.  Burgoon then came in, walked a batter, then threw a wild pitch, allowing the second run of the game to score (Katzman’s runner).

For Iowa, their starting pitcher, the freshman Hippen pitched a great game.  The lefty has the build to be a good starter, especially if he can get some support around him.  We’ll be seeing much more of him in the next 3 years.

Notable Stars

  • The Pitching Staff (Katzman, Miller, Burgoon) – 8 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 5 K

Notable Goats

  • The offense – 6 H, 1 R, 12 K
  • Toth – NEVER END AN INNING GETTING OUT AT THIRD BASE

Other Notes

  • BTN.com – Iowa played well today, Hippen will be good

Game 3

Box Score R H E
Michigan 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 2 0 7 12 3
Iowa 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 5 8 5

W – Travis Smith (4-2) L -Freie (2-2) Sv – Burgoon (3)

The good news is we won and the top half of the order decided to make up for the lack of production in game 2 with a huge effort in game 3.  The bad news is the radio broadcast was cut out due to technical difficulties. Blast – but I’ll take the win, even if its with a temporary snow fence in the outfield:

Because of the snow, and how it affected the non-covered warning track, a temporary blue construction-like fence was put in place to eliminate the warning track from the field of play, shortening Banks Field anywhere from 14-18 feet.

Mike Wilson started this game, but couldn’t make it out of the 3rd inning.  His first inning was solid, his second inning he escaped trouble, but things fell apart in the third.  In the inning he allowed three hits and a walk for a total of three runs.

Travis Smith entered here and did very well.  Over the next 4 1/3 innings, he’d only give up one unearned run on 2 hits, a walk, and 3 strikeouts.  I’m wondering if the last two appearances won’t get him a bid back into the starting rotation.  He’s done fairly well in the long relief behind Wilson, but the fact we are forced to go to long relief behind Wilson may signal the end of Mike’s stint in the Sunday starter role.

Burgoon also made an appearance in this game, working the final two innings to earn the save.  Burgoon did pretty well despite the run scoring.  He gave up a lead off double followed by two ground outs, the second of which scored a run.  He induced 5 ground balls and struck out a batter.  You can tell Burgoon is on by the higher ground ball to strikeout ratio.  He tends to have a bit more bite on his slider and keeps it down, while his fastball cuts downward slightly.

On offense, Coach Maloney switched Fellows and Toth back into the 2 and 9 hole respectively.  I think Fellows got the message from Maloney that he needed to produce.  Kenny went 4 for 5 on the day with 3 runs and 2 RBIs.  Monster game for Fellows.

Cislo consistently set up Fellows in the right situations, going 2 for 4 with a walk and 3 runs.  LaMarre followed up nicely after Fellows going 2 for 4 with a walk, and Mike Dufek did some cleaning up… in the clean up spot… with a 3 for 5 day and 3 RBIs.  Other than Toth’s 1 for 4 with a run, the rest of the lineup was silent.

Something I found peculiar was Alan Oaks being pulled from the game in the second inning.  He had just struck out (0/2 2 Ks), so I’m not sure if he was being pushed to the bench for his recent lack of offensive production or if he hurt himself.  I sent a quick email to the booth, but they weren’t quite sure what happened either.  We’ll see what sort of playing time he gets the next two days, then we’ll know for sure.

Between Oaks, his replacement Aspinwall, McLouth, Lorenz, and Timmy Kal, the bottom middle of the lineup went a combined 0 for 18 this game.  Toss in Toth and its a whole 1 for 22.  So… Is Nick Urban still sick or what?  Berset can’t get that hand healed fast enough.  We definitely need a kick in this area of the lineup.  It’s been plagued with inconsistency.

Notable Stars

  • Top 4 in the Lineup – 11/18 6 R, 5 RBI, 2B, 3 SB
  • Travis Smith – 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Notable Goats

  • Mike Wilson – 2.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K
  • Defense – 3 errors? are you kidding me?
  • Anthony Toth – Unearned run from a fielding error, separate throwing error

Other Notes

  • Michigan Daily – Weekend Recap, we’re scrappy, glad the running games going.  I fully expect anyone who reads that article to make a comment about David Eckstein.

Wrap Up

So we finished the weekend 2-1 which has us tied for 2nd place in the BigTen behind Illinois and tied with Ohio State.  That’s a pretty good start.  I think we really needed to sweep this weekend though.  I don’t think it will cost us a spot in the tournament by any stretch, but every win will be important this season with the stiff competition forming.  Iowa probably wont finish any higher than 7th in the BigTen this year, and that may be generous.  I pegged them for 8th before the conference season began.  Like I said, we really should have swept, but the stranding runners and making meh pitchers look great caught up to us again.  Blame the cold weather, the bus trip, whatever.  It’s gone now and all the boys can do is continue to work hard to win more games.

Next weekend we get a step up in competition with Penn State at home.  The Nittany Lions are a middle of the road BigTen team, I’d place around 5-7th place range.  They have some quality pitching, but don’t quite have the hitting prowess.

As for today (Tuesday), we face Bowling Green at the Fish at 3:05pm.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) is Coach Maloney’s former program Oakland.  I’ll try to get some sort of preview out by the game, but I’ve been swamped by things the last two days (hence this being late as it is).

Posted under Baseball

We Have History: Iowa

The Michigan baseball team got off to Iowa on the bus sometime around noon yesterday. The Michigan Baseball tweet doesn’t sound so certain about playing, but the guys are headed there anyways:

Getting ready to board the bus for Iowa and hoping the weather man is wrong about the 2 inches of snow there Saturday!

As a last little bit of information going into the series, I’ve compiled all our current players past performances against the Hawkeyes.  The chart after the jump is listed first by Michigan Hitters, then followed by Michigan Pitchers.  The player order is by first appearance.  So for example, Cislo was the only player to appear in the 2006 series, so he shows up first on the chart.

I’m not sure if I’ll have this for each Big10 opponent, but I’ll try to get it out.  It’s time consuming to gather it information and then chart it all out.  I had planned to do the Purdue team against Michigan, but yeah… no.  Besides, who cares about them anyway?

A few of the stand outs:

  • Cislo is batting .500 for his career against the Hawkeyes with 8 runs and 14 hits in just 11 games.
  • Chris Fetter is 1-1, but has a complete game (7 innings) with 18 Ks in 19 innings.
  • Ben Jenzen is 2-0 in 3 appearances, pitching 5 innings while giving up 4 runs (only one earned).
  • Burgoon earned his first career win against the Hawkeyes in an extra inning game last year, going 2 shut out innings striking out 2.
  • As a team (just current players), we are 11-1 against the Hawkeyes.

Full Chart after the jump Read More…

Posted under Baseball