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 Matchup: Notre Dame

UPDATE: TimFAIL. Almost immediately after I say the game looks like it won’t be canceled, it is. 

As of right now, it looks like the game is going to be played. I’ll update accordingly if it’s not. -t

We’ve got a home and home scheduled with Notre Dame that is supposed to start tonight at 7:05pm.  I’m not so optimistic it’ll be played.  Tomorrow has a better chance.  If the game gets canceled tonight, I expect a doubleheader at Notre Dame tomorrow.  We’ll see though.


Notre Dame is a middle of the pack BigEast team, a conference Michigan has performed well against this year.  Unfortunately all that success was in week 1 during the BigEast/BigTen challenge when Michigan looked really good.  The Irish enter the series with a 22-14 record (8-7) in the BigEast.  Their team batting average is a very respectable .309, and the team ERA of 4.93 is also pretty good.

Tonight’s game features Kolby Wood and Notre Dame’s senior lefty Sam Elam.  Elam will be making his 6th appearance and first start in this game.  He appears to be high risk-high reward.  He has struck out 13 batters in 9 innings, but he’s also walked 11 and given up 9 earned runs.  His opponent batting average is only .161, but the walks have really hurt him.

Wednesday will see Mike Wilson take on Irish freshman lefty Ryan Richter.  Richter is 3-1 in 7 appearances (1 start) with a 2.04 ERA.  In 17.2 innings of work, he’s given up 17 hits, 8 walks, and 16 strikeouts.  Looks like were getting the power lefties from the Irish.  Richter’s only start came against Northwestern, a 5-1 loss where he only lasted 3.2 innings while giving up 2 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, and 6 strikeouts.

AJ Pollack leads the Irish offense in average with .350, but he also has his share of power with 5 homers and ten doubles.  Pollack also leads the team with 13 steals in 18 attempts.  He is joined by Jeremey Barnes in the lineup who is second on the team with .341 average and 7 homers.  Barnes is the leading slugger at a .644 slugging percentage.  Greg Sherry and Golden Tate are also both hitting over .335.  Tate, unsurprisingly, is also a stolen base threat.  He’s 6/7 on the year.

Other Notes:

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

Baseball: Now Playing Two

Per MGoBlue:

Steady rain in the Ann Arbor area all day today (Tuesday, April 14) has forced the cancellation of Michigan’s scheduled contest with Toledo and changed Wednesday’s (April 15) game with Eastern Michigan to a pair of seven-inning contests beginning at 3:05 p.m. No makeup date for the Toledo game has been announced.

So that’s two games versus EMU today to make up for the lost game yesterday.  Just what we need, more innings of midweek pitching.  I say that only half facetiously.  We do need to get some guys work.  I haven’t seen anything about starting pitchers, but I’ll throw my guesses out as Brandon Sinnery and Kevin Vangheluwe.  Kolby Wood threw a few times this weekend, but could be available.  The pitcher I’d like to see get this start is Mike Wilson, just to get him an easy start (7 innings puts less pressure on the starter to go deep into games).  It probably won’t happen, but its an idea.

I’m hoping we get some carnage as Michigan tries to avenge the loss at home last week.  The season series is tied at one a piece, each won by the visiting team.

Update: Miller started first game (just 2 IP).  Paul and Tim went head to head in the Michigan Baseball Tricycle race.  No word yet on who one.  I’ll have them recap later.

Michigan State Weekend

Also in that link from MGoBlue, the start time to Friday’s game has been moved to 3:05 from 6:05pm.  No audio will be available, which blows, but they will have live stats.  Their press box at MSU’s new McLane Stadium (named after Spartan alum and owner of the Astros, Drayton McLane) is just nearing the completion stage, so it appears they don’t have audio installed yet.

Posted under Baseball

Preview: Penn State

vs. Penn State

from psu.edu

12:05pm Saturday, 30 minutes after Game 1 (~3:30pm), 1;05pm Saturday (all EDT)
Ray Fisher Stadium
Ann Arbor, MI

Media Game 1: Live Stats and Audio, TV: BTN
Probable Starters Game 1: Chris Fetter (3-1) vs Macy (2-2)
Media Game 2: Live Stats and Audio
Probable Starters Game 2: Eric Katzman (4-2) vs Grumley (2-1)
Media Game 3: Live Stats and Audio
Probable Starters Game 3: Mike Wilson (1-0) vs Lorentson (0-1)
Series: Michigan trails 33-40
Last Meeting: Michigan won 3 of 4 in 2008 @ PSU
Last Michigan Loss: Recap – 1-10, L – Travis Smith (.2 IP in the start)

Penn State Baseball Blog:  HappyValleyHardball


Penn State comes into Ann Arbor with a 15-11 record on the season, and 1-2 in BigTen play. The BigTen series was against current conference favorite Ohio State with scores of 3-8, 2-12, and 15-11. The split a pair of mid week games against Bucknell (W) and Kent State (L). Both of those teams are upper middle in the ranks of NCAA at 133 and 111 in psuedo RPI. Meanwhile Penn State currently comes in at 78 in those same rankings.

Penn State has been playing about the same level of baseball as Michigan this season. By that, I mean they’ve played solid ball, but they aren’t really dominating teams. Looking at their win-loss record so far, I’d argue that they’ve actually played a little bit better than we have based off the teams they’ve beaten.

The Weather

Despite the amazing weather in Ann Arbor today (Thursday), things look ugly the next 24 hours. It looks so bad (100% chance of rain with wind gusts up to 40 mph) that the two teams pushed back the Friday game without even trying. The two teams will instead play a doubleheader beginning Saturday at 12:05pm. The second game will follow 30 minutes after the first is completed, probably around 3-3:30pm.

If the field drains quickly enough, the weather for Saturday is currently looking to be sunny with a high around 50 degrees. Sunday looks for more horrible weather as there is a 60% chance of rain with highs in the low 40s. I’m not confident about getting any games in there, but you never know.

Winds look to be from the northwest or west by northwest at 15-20 mph on Saturday., which means right to left cross winds, maybe even a bit in from right field. This is the same thing we’ve had the last few days, so don’t expect fly balls to right field to carry out. On Sunday they are due to switch to the east by northeast, which is out to right center.

The Team


The Nittany Lions as a team aren’t the greatest hitting bunch, but they are hitting .301 as a team and scoring 7.3 runs per game (98th in NCAA). The do strikeout a little bit, but not at quite the same clip as the Wolverines.

Most of their offense is sparked through lead off man Blake Lynd. Lynd ranks 49th in the NCAA with a .427 batting average, and he also boasts a .510 on base percentage. Lynd is definitely a singles hitter, with just one extra base hit in 35 knocks. The junior center fielder is currently 13/18 in stolen base attempts. As a side note, the junior college Lynd came from last year (and went to the JUCO World Series with) was where I took dual credit classes at in high school. Weird.

Behind Lynd is generally senior second basemen Landon Nakata. Nakata isn’t a big hitting threat, batting only .286 on the season (63 at bats). He’ll be used more to sacrifice bunt Lynd around the base or even hit and run. Nakata does split some time with junior Louie Picconi, but he’s even less of a threat, batting only .196 in 46 at bats.

Left field and the three hole are nearly exclusively Mike Deese’s. Deese, a senior, hasn’t really taken over as the RBI producer this year, especially without a good number two hitter, but he has knocked in 25 RBIs on the season. He does the some power, already hitting 6 doubles and a home run on the season.

Behind Deese is Cory Wine at first base. Wine is the team’s RBI leader with 28 on the year. He also ranks second on the team with a .389 batting average. He’s actually the teams leading run scorer as well with 25. Wine also is tied for the team home run lead with 2 and firmly holds the team lead with 10 doubles. In all, he holds a .579 slugging percentage.

In the five hole, third basemen Jordan Steranka will get many chances to knock in Deese and Wine. On the year he has 25 RBI and a .359 batting average. Steranka has the second highest slugging percentage of any of the regulars at .511.

The six through nine hitters change often for PSU, but the most consistent player in this area has to be Grant Youngblood platooning in right field. Youngblood is batting .314 in 19 starts. He shares right field with Rick Marlin who also has made 20 starts. These two also work into the DH role (for you math majors scratching your heads). Marlin is only hitting .227 on the season, and hasn’t really seen too many runs or RBIs come to his credit.

At catcher, the Nittany Lions split time between a pair of sophomores, Jacobs and Heath. Jacobs has been getting more of the time, but hasn’t taken the job exclusively. On the season, Jacobs is hitting .302 with 12 runs and 10 RBIs. Heath will probably catch one of the last two games. He’s currently batting .270 with 6 runs and 5 RBI.

Shortstop Michael Glantz is the only starter at his position, but his spot in the lineup floats up and down from seven to nine in almost every game. He’s batting .281 on the season wiht 18 runs and 8 RBI.

Also keep an eye out for Wes Borden to DH. He had a lot of playing time last year, but has lost his swing. He’s splitting time with the two right fielders for the DH spot, batting just .218 with 13 runs and 9 RBI.

Starting Pitching

Everything starts with T.J. Macy. Macy is the definite stud on the team, posting a 2.31 ERA on the season (61st in NCAA). He’s had some tough draws on the season, such as the 1-0 complete game loss to Texas, so don’t let that 2-2 record fool you. Macy is good. In his last start, he began the game just allowing one runner in the first 4 2/3 innings pitched, but ultimately the Ohio State team (17 in the nation in hitting) knocked him for a 5 sp0t in the 5th inning. He ended the game with 7 innings, 5 ER, 4 hits, 5 walks, and 5 Ks.

Calvin Grumley is slated to start game 2. The left hander has struggled a bit in his 7 appearances, 5 starts, posting a 7.14 ERA in 29 innings of work. His opponent batting average sits just over .314. His last outing was a no decision in game 3 versus the Buckeyes, lasting only 4 1/3 inning, giving up 7 runs on 7 hits, 2 walks, and 3 Ks.

Mike Lorentson, another left hander, is scheduled to finish the series on the mound. He’s currently 1-3 after 9 appearances, 5 starts. His 6.18 ERA isn’t really that good. His last start came against Kent State on March 24th, where he earned the victory. He pitched 7 2/3 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, 1 walk, and four strike outs. His last appearance was a relief outing on Wednesday, only throwing an inning, giving up 3 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and one walk.


David Lutz is the first person we’ll see out of the bullpen when its close late. Lutz has 14 appearance this season including one save. His 3.80 ERA is second only to Macy on the team. Lutz has only struck out 13 in his 21 innings, and he does give up about a hit per inning.

Freshman right hander Ryan Ignas is another reliever we’re sure to see this weekend (probably Sunday as he had a 3 inning start on Wednesday). He’s had 11 appearances this year including that start. His ERA is 5.24, but he does have 2 saves.

Junior Jesse Alfreno also has 10 relief appearances this season. His 4.20 ERA is one of the best of the relief corp. He does have an 8-to-5 walk to strikeout ratio, so that is in our favor.

Lastly, Scott Kelly, previously of the starting rotation, is now going to be tried out as the team’s closer. Kelly has been pretty good this season in 8 appearances, 6 starts. He has an ERA of 3.86, 4-3 record, and opponent batting average of .496.


If Chris Fetter can out duel Macy, Michigan should take at least 2 of 3 games. I remain skeptical about the sweep just because of Katzman and Wilson’s inconsistent pitching. Penn State also is very good about inducing double plays, ranking 19th in the NCAA at 1.21 per game. They are a little bit better of a team than anyone else we’ve played. I’d put them just a step below Arizona (if they had Stoffel, I’d call them even).

That said, I think they finish just over .500 for the Big10 season, good enough for a six (bottom) seed in the Big10 Tourney. Michigan must take 2 of 3 from these guys to keep up with the top teams in the conference. This series will be the big test (if we get all the games in) on how well Michigan will do the rest of the Big10 season.

Other Note(s) for the Weekend

BTN Cancels Coverage

The first game of the doubleheader, originally scheduled for Friday was due to be shown on the BigTen Network. With the reschedule, the game will no longer be shown as there is a scheduling conflict with the Michigan softball due to be aired at 2pm. I can’t fault the BTN here (I plan to have a post on their lack of coverage at a later date), they are actually out trying to show more games by doing a couple games this weekend at Michigan. They also are broadcasting the Sunday softball game at 1pm. If you’re not in Ann Arbor, be sure to catch those games. Our softball team ranked #10 and 11 in the two polls that matter.


I meant to include these in previous previews, but the program provides several promotions throughout the present season. Mostly unintentional alliteration aside, this weekend continues the trend of ways to encourage attendance:

Saturday, April 4, vs. Penn State, 1:05 p.m.
Michigan Baseball Hot Chocolate/Coffee Mug Giveaway — The first 250 fans will receive a thermal Michigan baseball mug. In addition, stop by and fill your mug with complimentary hot chocolate or coffee while supplies last.

Sunday, April 5, vs. Penn State, 1:05 p.m.
High School Team Night #1 — High school baseball teams are invited to attend these games FREE of charge! All members of the team and up to three coaches are eligible to receive FREE admission by faxing (734-615-1567) or emailing (katjacks@umich.edu) a roster at least two days prior to the game(s) they plan to attend.

Kids Run the Bases — Immediately following the conclusion of the game, all kids in eighth grade and under will have an opportunity to run the bases!

Trading Card Giveaway #1 — The first 500 fans will receive the first set of Michigan baseball trading cards

The hot chocolate and coffee is enough to get me there early.

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

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

Preview: Iowa


from hawkeyesports.com

5pm Friday, 2pm Saturday, 2pm Saturday (all EDT)
Duane Banks Baseball Field
Iowa City, IA

Media Game 1: Live Stats and Audio
Probable Starters Game 1: Chris Fetter (3-1) vs Nick Brown (1-1)
Media Game 2: Live Stats and Audio
Probable Starters Game 2: Eric Katzman (3-1) vs Josh Hippen (1-0)
Media Game 3: Live Stats and Audio
Probable Starters Game 3: Mike Wilson (1-0) vs Wes Freie (2-1)
Series: Michigan leads 97-42
Last Meeting: Michigan sweeps 4 at Home in 2008
Last Michigan Loss: 2007 at Iowa (Michigan took 3/4)


Iowa is a team expected to finish near the bottom of the Big10 this year. So far this season they are 8-10, with an RPI of 235 (boyd’s world). They do have one good win at Louisville, the middle game of their 3 game set, winning 2-1.

The Hawkeyes have used many looks for their batting lineup so far in an attempt to create some offensive cohesion. They, like Michigan, have been hitting pretty well, but have struggled in putting it together to score runs. Overall, the Hawkeyes rank #138 in team batting average and #119 in scoring.

Pitching hasn’t been good. The team ERA is 6.73, good for 216th in the NCAA. Strikeouts also come at a fairly slow pace, just 6.6 per nine innings. This team, much like several others we’ve played recently, just isn’t that good.

Even Coach Dahm has begun using things like “it doesn’t matter if we win or lose.” He did a video interview with the Daily Iowan full of quotes coaches from struggling teams have.

The Field

The Hawkeyes play at Duane Banks Baseball Field, situated on the west side of campus near Carver Arena and Kinnick Stadium. Home plate faces north by northeast, meaning with the north wind coming in this weekend, not many balls are going to carry out of the park. The dimensions of the field are nearly symmetrical, with the lines being 330 feet, the power alleys at 375 feet, and straight away center being 400 feet. The fences are a little tall at 10 feet, but that’s not all that unusual. Along with the aforementioned wind, rain and even possibly snow is expected to be in the forecast on Friday and Saturday. This shouldn’t help our power numbers either.

They’ve only held 3 games at home before this series. The home opener did not have an official attendance, but game two was reported at just over 570 fans, which is well below the 3,000 person capacity. It shouldn’t be too intimidating.

The Team


Leading off, at least most often, is third basemen Kevin Hoef. Hoef is a senior who has a career batting average of .321. Last year was his big break out as a junior, batting .357. This is his fourth year as a starter, but it’s also been his roughest stretch at bat. He is currently batting .237 and he’s been hit a NCAA high 14 times in 17 games. So while the average has been low, his on-base percentage of .410, aided by those hit-by-pitches, has kept him in the lead off spot. Hoef is also a threat on the bases, currently 7 for 8 in stolen base attempts. Hoef has also struggled a little bit on offense this year, already having 6 errors. I’m not sure what’s up with this; his defense has been much better in years past.


Iowa Depth Chart against Coe on Tuesday

Behind Hoef will be shortstop Justin Toole who generally in the 3 spot, but sometimes bats second or even lead off. Toole has been Iowa’s star on defense and offense for the last few seasons, but the senior has never been awarded higher than 3rd team All Big10. Jason Christian at Michigan was a big reason why. Regardless, Toole hit .395 last season, good for 5th in the conference. This season, Toole still has a very good batting average, coming in at .353 with a team high 16 runs. He’s also collected 13 RBIs. On the base paths, Toole will try to keep the defense on its toes. So far he’s 5 for 8 on the season.  Toole is coming off BigTen Player of the Week honors.  Along with scoring 9 and driving in 9 RBIs, he had four multiple hit games.  His OPS for the week was 1.210, yikes.

The clean up spot is senior designated hitter Wes Freie. Freie is another Hawkeye to hit the starting stage last year with break out numbers, hitting .342. This year he is currently batting .333 with 14 runs, 15 RBIs, and 4 homers.

Behind these three, and even in the 2 hole, the order changes often. The top RBI producer for the team is senior first basemen T.J. Catalado with 19 on the season. He also is tied for the lead in team home runs with 4. His batting average is also pretty good at .304. Catalado has batted 6th 12 times and 5th 4 times.

Center field appears to be locked down after a rotating cast. Sophomore Kurtis Muller, listed as 5’0″ and the starter currently. He’s only batting .242 and has a 1:8 walk to strikeout ratio, surprising for a little guy. He is 3/4 stealing bases.

Junior right fielder Ryan Durant also has started consistently for the Hawkeyes. So far this season, he is batting .339 with 9 runs and 9 RBIs. In left field, the Hawkeyes start a rotating cast. One is a sophomore with a name I absolutely think is fake… Zach McCool. McCool is hitting .293 this year, which isn’t too impressive, but he does have a pair of homers and a triple this season. You might even see him at second base this weekend.

Other people in the rotating cast of left field and second base include freshman infielder Mike McQuillan who is only batting .263 with 8 runs, freshman infielder Chett Zeise who is batting .355 with 7 runs and 2 RBI, or sophomore Travis Willis who is batting .118 with 2 home runs.

Starting Pitching

The Hawkeyes have started seven different players this year on the mound. Their rotation last week featured Nick Brown, Micheal Jacobs, and Wes Freie (yes, the same Freie who is listed as the DH).

Freie has the best numbers out of the three, currently with a 2-1 record and 5.40 ERA in 4 starts. Over his 18 1/3 innings pitched, he’s given up 26 hits, 8 walks, and struck out a team high 20. Ten of those 26 hits have been for extra bases, which hopefully bodes well for Michigan. His most recent start was this Sunday in a win at Western Illinois. Freie went 5 innings only giving up one run on 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, and 2 hit batters.

Micheal Jacobs has the most starts on the team with 5, but they haven’t been all that successful. He’s currently 1-4 on the year with a 7.00 ERA. The lefty has had some tough luck on the mound. This season, his defense has already hung 7 unearned runs while Jacobs is on the mound. He hasn’t helped his own cause either though, allowing an opponent batting average of .384. Jacobs isn’t going to strike out many (well, unless Michigan continues its current strikeout pace); he only has 7 Ks on the year. His last start was a loss at home against Western Illinois. He lasted 3 innings, giving up 5 runs (all earned) on 8 hits and a walk.

Nick Brown earned his way into the weekend starting rotation two weekends ago, just in time to face a ranked Louisville team. In his first start, a loss, he lasted 5 1/3 inning, allowing 10 hits for 6 runs (5 earned) with 4 walks. In his second start, he picked up his first win at home against Western Illinois, lasting 6 1/3, allowing just 5 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), with a walk and four strikeouts. He seems like just the sort of pitcher that has their career day against Michigan lately.


The bullpen actually has a couple decent players in it for Iowa. Josh Hippen (LHP) and Patrick Schatz (RHP) are the two primary relievers. Schatz has the better ERA of the two at 2.25, and also sports a 1-0 record in 16 innings. He has an even 8 walks and 8 strikeouts. He also has had trouble with his defense, who has given up 6 unearned runs while on the mound.

Hippen is the stereotypical starter build at 6’3″, and has the strikeout numbers too. In his 18 innings, he’s struck out 13 batters. He’s only given up 6 total runs (all earned) and walked nine.  Update: Hippen has been promoted to the Saturday starting spot for this weekend according to the weekend release, which will hit the shelves soon).


As bad as Iowa is, they can get on base and score runs. Michigan has made it a habit lately to make meh pitchers look pretty good. I still think Michigan takes every game in the series, but they will be much closer than I would want us to be playing. Ultimately, it will just come down to “can Michigan move the runners around and score them?” I’ll take the optimistic yes.

Other Note(s) for the Weekend

BigTenNetwork airs its first baseball game of the season on Friday at 7pm, Michigan State vs Illinois. The BTN will also air their Saturday game at 4pm. Michigan will make its BTN debut next week against Penn State. I was hoping they would stream the baseball games, or at least offer them for replay, but I’m not sure what the plans are at BTN.com.

Weekly Releases from the SID are now going to semiweekly in order to get more information out.  Midweek games will be covered on Tuesdays (unless travel pushes it back) and weekends will be released on Thursday.  This is to make sure information stays fresh.  I think its a net positive change.  I went looking through old releases earlier in the week to start my preview for Iowa, and let me tell you, the stuff the SID office is putting out now is amazing compared to just 2 years ago.

SEBaseball.com released their updated projection of the field of 64; Michigan is unsurprisingly not in it.  The good news for the Big10 is two teams did make it in, so we at least are getting some respect from the big boys down south.  The two teams you ask?  Ohio State gets a #1 seed (!) and hosts (!!!).  They are the lowest 1 seed, but wow, I didn’t expect that.  Minnesota is labeled a #2 seed as the at large bid, but they get placed in the Cal State Fullerton (overall #1 seed) and play Arizona as a #3 seed.  I think we can all atest that Arizona is no cupcake at a #3 seed.  Illinois is probably just outside of the tournament right now, but has a resume to have them in consideration.  The Big10 only sent one team to the tourney last year, but did send 3 in 2007, including Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio State.  They’d love to do it again.

Posted under Baseball