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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

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

Behind Some Woodshed In Kalamazoo

There was finally a situation where I didn’t feel so scared about Jeff DeCarlo pitching for Michigan. That situation you may ask? That would be an 18-0 lead in the 7th inning of today’s game at Western Michigan. DeCarlo did give up a run in his one inning of work, but it obviously meant nothing.

The final score is 20-1.  I’ll link to the box score when it comes out.

Travis Smith started this game for Michigan. He pitched 6 scoreless innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 2. Great start (and win) for Smith, but yeah, Western isn’t a good team at all. They are #244 in RPI according to Boyds World. Their batting average ranks #224 out of 288 teams ranked by the NCAA. Regardless, it’s nice to see a Michigan starter pitch to their level and not the opposing team’s.

Mike Dufek lead the real beating of the Broncos. While wearing the #25 jersey (not sure why), he destroyed WMU in every aspect of the game. Dufek went 6 for 6 on the day with 5 RBI and 4 runs. Holy crap. That means he’s on a 8 at-bat hitting streak including his two singles to close out the OSU series. That has to be approaching a school record. In those 6 hits were 2 homers and 4 singles. Monstrous day.

As if that wasn’t enough, Coach Maloney let him pitch the 9th inning. I guess Dufek was upset he got stranded on deck, unable to go 7 for 7, to end the top of the 9th inning. Dufek unleashed the heat in the 9th, striking out the side with almost exclusively the high heat. Someone don’t stop that man!

Other offensive performances of note:

  • LaMarre – 2/5  4 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
  • Urban – 2/3  2 R, 2 RBI
  • Berset – 3/4  4 RBI, R, 2B
  • Oaks – 2/6 3 RBI, 2 R, HR
  • 12 Wolverines with a hit, 6 had multiple hits
  • 8 Wolverines with an RBI, 6 had multiple RBIs

We start up again tomorrow at the Fish.  6:35pm start time for those of you in Ann Arbor.  Hopefully we see this kind of game again tomorrow.  No starters have been announced yet.

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

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

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

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