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Swept WMU, Tournament Number is 7

Congrats.  We swept the second worst D1 Baseball team in the state of Michigan.  Final score today was 6-0.  Three game winnings streak! Haven’t had one of those since we swept IPFW (4 games including the EMU game before it).

Brandon Sinnery got the start in the game and he made the most of it. He lasted 6 innings giving up only 4 hits while striking out 2 (yes, that’s 0 walks). I’ll take that start any midweek.

Sinnery was also aided by some early run support. Michigan scored 5 runs in the first inning. Nick Urban had a RBI single, followed by a 2 RBI single by Chris Berset and a 2 RBI double by Alan Oaks. That kind of support offensively makes pitching much easier. I will note that Urban left the game in this inning. It was right after stealing second base. I missed the broadcast call, but I would imagine its either a leg or hand injury. If anyone has any news, drop a comment.

Matt Miller, Kolby Wood, and Tyler Burgoon combined to finish the game.  Burgoon sounded to be pitching well.  He struck out the first hitters of the 9th on 6 pitches.

After the 1st inning, the offense went into hibernation.  We did get picked off twice, but one sounded to be a clear balk.  The pitcher from WMU stepped toward the plate then submarined the throw to first.  The step toward the plate is a balk.  It didn’t get called and Berset was left confused and out to dry.  Coach Maloney gave the umpire a piece of his mind, but it didn’t change anything.

So that’s all well and good, but it does nothing for us making it to the BTT.

BigTen Tournament Bid

Team W L Pct
Illinois 14 4 .778
Minnesota 13 4 .765
Ohio State 13 5 .722
Indiana 11 6 .647
Michigan State 11 7 .611
Purdue 7 10 .412
Michigan 7 11 .389
Penn State 5 13 .278
Northwestern 3 13 .188
Iowa 3 14 .176

As you can see, Michigan is just half a game back of the now coveted 6-spot, the final team to make the BigTen Tournament.  Our “magic number” is technically 7.  We need a combination of 7 Michigan wins or Purdue losses in order to lock up the tournament bid.  The problem is we only have 6 games left.  The other problem is we play Minnesota this weekend.  Minnesota is a very good team, and we’ll get to that preview in the next few days.

The good news is we finish with Northwestern in Evanston, a team that just isn’t good.  The other good news is Purdue has a very tough schedule down the stretch, facing off with Michigan State in East Lansing where they are as good as anyone else in the conference, and then, they face Illinois who will be looking to clinch a top seed in the tournament.  I don’t see Purdue winning more than 2 games in that stretch, so Michigan has a chance to make up ground.

Going into this weekend’s games, I think Michigan takes the 6th spot with a 4-3 record down the stretch while Purdue goes 3-3, missing the post season by half a game.

Rooting interests this weekend:

  • Michigan over Minnesota.  Obviously.  We need this series.
  • Michigan State over Purdue.  Yet again, obviously.  I don’t think they sweep, but they need to take at least two of three.
  • Iowa not to get swept in Iowa City vs Penn State.  Penn State has an outside shot at taking the 6th spot, but would take some major upsets.
  • Good Weather.  We’re already behind in the loss column.  We can’t afford to not win.  While losing may be worse, not playing could be just as bad down the stretch.  There is already rain in the forecast for this Saturday (game 2 vs Minnesota) and next Thursday (game 1 @NU).

Minnesota comes to town Friday at 6:35pm.  More on them soon.

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

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

Why We Lost: MSU Game 2

What a poor offensive game for Michigan today.  While I’ll save the recap for Monday, here’s a look at what caused us to lose this game… at Ray Fisher Stadium in front of over 2,000 fans to a team that is now only 2-14 away from their home stadium.

  • Michigan left 14 on base this game, including 6 in the first two innings.  A season high.
  • Only 3 batters had hits in this game, Berset with 2, Lorenz, and McLouth.  The latter two were pulled for pinch hitters later in the game.
  • The few times we hit the ball hard, it was right at someone.  Garrett Stephens’ liner and Nick Urban’s to end the game come directly to mind – both with runners on base.
  • We had a season low 5 total bases.
  • Batters 1-6 of the Michigan batting order were 0/20 with 6 walks (3 were Cislo).
  • We were 1/20 with runners on base (1/19 with RISP)
  • 8 Ks vs a team that averages 5.4 a game. 5 of those with RISP and less than 2 outs.
  • A balk with 2 outs and a runner on third (in all fairness, Alan Oaks was awesome and didn’t deserve a loss).

We are making bad teams look good.  We’re now in 8th place in the conference ahead of only Northwestern and Iowa.  We may have just been swept by the Spartans for the first time in 10+ years (weather isn’t looking good for tomorrow, much less our team).  I don’t have the ability to look that up right now.

Posted under Baseball

MidWeek Closeout: Central Michigan

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

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

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

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

That's a catch that should be made.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Going On?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Do We Fix It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted under Baseball

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

Mid Week Closeout: vs EMU

Game Recap

Box Score R H E
EMU 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 9 0
Michigan 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 10 1

W – Sikora (1-0) L -Brandon Sinnery (1-1)

Well, the Mid Week bug struck early, as Michigan loses to Eastern Michigan at home. Chantel Jennings at the Daily had a chance to interview Mike Dufek before the game and Coach Maloney before and after the playing, it seems the guys might have been a little too overconfident.

“We know that we are supposed to win,” [Mike Dufek] said. “It’s only a matter of us focusing and playing well.”

“I even talked to the team before the game,” Maloney said. “I said, ‘Let’s understand that anyone can knock you off.’ Maybe this will be a lesson learned for later days.”

Ouch.

by Leisa Thompson, The Ann Arbor News

by Leisa Thompson, The Ann Arbor News

I was working during the game and have had trouble getting MGoBlue’s media player to load, so straight box scoring on this one. While Michigan did out hit the Eagles in this one, we were stranding runners and getting killed on the base paths again. Michigan left 10 runners on base, and had another 4 either picked off or caught stealing. The running game had been fairly solid for us of late after a shaky start.

Sinnery didn’t have too poor of a start. Yes, he did give up the 2 run home run, but those runs were the only ones he gave up in the first 5 which is an decent start. The last run came after he was pulled in the 6th inning. With runners on first and second, EMU manufactured the run by using the sacrifice bunt two times in a row (one being a suicide squeeze). It’s a tough way to give up a run, but it happens.

On offense, we got on base quite often, but we couldn’t get anything going. Along with the base running problems mentioned earlier, we also weren’t hitting well with runners in scoring position. The team went 0/5 with runners in scoring position, and 0/3 with an RBI with a runner on third. The one RBI came from a Cislo ground out that allowed Kalcynzski to score. Poor base running and no hitting when runners are in scoring position means you have to live and die by the long ball. No extra base hits today. Death.

Notable Stars

  • Anthony Toth – 2/4
  • Bullpen (Miller/Burgoon) – 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K

Notable Goats

  • Cislo/Fellows/LaMarre/Dufek – Each left 2 runners stranded
  • Cislo/Fellows – picked off trying to steal (caught stealing)
  • Kalczynski/Urban – picked off not trying to steal

Side Note

  • Fellows moved to right field for this game, supposedly for defensive purposes as it was rather windy at the Fish yesterday. This is not expected to be a permanent move.

Extra Reading

Michigan Insider Podcast

Coach Maloney continued his Michigan Insider Podcast on WTKA. They touched a lot on the recent news of Barry Larkin and Branch Rickey entering the NCAA College Baseball Hall of Fame. Coach said they are working on improving the baseball history portrayed in the lobby of the Fish. They are working on getting more pictures and history up on the walls to show just how rich the history of the program is.

Maloney also walked through the Big10 season. He tabbed Iowa as a scrappy team that always takes games from us when we don’t expect it. The weather may be an equalizer to help them. He expects Minnesota, Ohio State, Indiana, and Illinois to all compete for the Big10 crown without anyone really running away with it. Our lack of experience may cause problems, but he’s hopeful it won’t show its ugly head too often.

Other News

Chicago MLB Wolverines

As Brian@mgoblog linked in mgo.licio.us, Chris Getz and Clayton Richards both made the Chicago White Sox roster for the season. While Brian says this should make all you Chicagoland fans White Sox fans, I will offer you Cubs fans a bone. Jake Fox is one of the first call ups for the Cubs if anyone in their outfield is injured. He won’t be starting like Getz will, but at least its something.  Also, there is some speculation that Getz’s starting is just temporary as the White Sox are preparing for a bigger prospect to take his place.  These two, and potential third, combine with J.J. Putz, ex-closer for the Mariners now with the Mets, and Rich Hill, pitcher with the Orioles, to be the four Wolverines on MLB rosters to start the season.

Hall of Fame

Going back to what was mentioned in the Michigan Insider Podcast, Michigan has two guys making the list of inductees this year. Branch Rickey was not just a great player at Michigan, but also was the general manager who brought Jackie Robinson to the major leagues to break the color barrier. His bio via the College Baseball Foundation:

Among the 2009 Hall of Fame class is one Vintage-Era inductee and the first “small school” inductee.

Branch Rickey, player and coach from Ohio Wesleyan and Michigan is the Vintage-Era inductee. The Vintage-Era designation is for those who played or coached prior to 1947.

Barry Larkin is probably the more notable inductee to most of you. Larkin was a long time staple at the Cincinnati Reds, but before that, he taking Michigan to the College World Series:

Michigan’s Barry Larkin was a two-time first-team All-American shortstop. He was the first two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and in 1983 he was the Big Ten Postseason Tournament MVP. He twice led the Wolverines to the College World Series and finished his career with a .361 batting average.

Iowa Game Time Changed

The opener to the Big10 season is Friday at Iowa. The game has been moved from 6pm to 4 pm CDT (7 to 5pm EDT). The weather looks to be windy and rainy.

Posted under Baseball

Stat Watch Addendum: Week 5

Stat Person/Team Rank
Ks/9 Team 20th
HR/G Team 37th
FLD% Team 29th
R/G Cislo 32th
RBi/G LaMarre 32th
BB/9 Fetter 60th

So I put out the Stat Watch a few days too early as the NCAA released their first set of weekly statistic releases. While I can’t get you a direct link to the Michigan page (or haven’t figured out a way so far), it isn’t hard to get to it by starting here. To get to the Michigan page, go to Division I, week of 3/23/09, Team All Statistics. We’re team #61 (as sorted by batting average). Click on Michigan and you’ll see how we stack up in 25 team categories, and how our team leaders stack up in 32 individual statistics. Most individual leader boards top out at about 300 players. Katzman and Fetter both show up in a few of the pitching categories while Cislo, Dufek, LaMarre, Urban, and Toth all show up in the offensive categories. I’ve included some of the more notable rankings for Michigan in the chart to the right.

Something else I noticed, Arizona thanks us for that 6 GDP game, as they now rank first in double plays per game.

Yes, I am using this statistic site to distract me from the fact that we lost to Eastern Michigan today.

Posted under Baseball

Stat Watch: Week 5

Reminder: EMU game is bumped up to today (Tuesday). Live Stats and Live Audio available through mgoblue.com.  Preview and recap of the last meeting with EMU games are available.

In this edition of stat watch, we’ll catch back up with team hitting, and get caught up on offense. Pitching numbers are still rough, but we’ll at least take a look at the leader boards and look at the potential starting rotation for our upcoming 5-game weeks of the conference season. I’ll have a mix of Excel Graphs and ManyEyes (individual statistics). At this point, I can’t get the ManyEye’s visuals to embed, allowing you to play with the data and charts. So instead, its back to the basic Excel graphs.

Team Hitting

battinggraph5

Above is the game by game batting average (blue), on-base percentage (red), and slugging percentage (yellow) for the team as it has accumulated over the season. As you can see, we appear to be reaching a fairly consistent level of production over the last 7 games or so. Game 12 is the last game of the Siena series, so everything after that would include the Arizona series, @EMU, and the IPFW series.

Our current batting average is .321, on-base percentage .410, and slugging percentage of .495. These are pretty solid numbers. The average batting average for the NCAA (last assembled in April 08) was approximately .292. Over the last few years, the NCAA average has been in the mid .280s.

As far as slugging, I have yet to find an NCAA-wide statistic, so I’ll compare it to the last few years of Michigan. The last five years final numbers are .489, .478, .417, .429, and .413. We’re still early in this year, but we look to be doing rather well for ourselves in the power department, at least compared to previous teams.

When looking at other Big10 teams, we can get a slightly better idea of where we compare this year. Keep in mind that there is a definite difference in competition faced.

Team Record RPI BA OB% SLG%
Minnesota 13-6 20 .309 .432 .526
Ohio State 17-2 22 .350 .405 .550
Illinois 12-4 48 .322 .411 .438
Michigan 14-5 117 .321 .410 .495
Penn State 11-8 143 .308 .396 .401
Purdue 8-9 194 .286 .381 .411
Indiana 7-13 220 .338 .412 .500
Michigan State 6-14 227 .253 .339 .356
Iowa 6-10 228 .289 .382 .451
Northwestern 4-14 238 .252 .323 .344

I have the table sorted by RPI (as of Sunday morning), so theoretically, the teams the have done well against better competition should be at the top. Michigan places 4th in the Big10 in batting average, 4th in on-base percentage, and 4th in slugging percentage. Go figure we’re currently 4th in RPI. It makes sense as Ohio State has been destroying every pitching staff they’ve seen (mostly inferior teams). Indiana is scoring a ton of runs, but they are giving them up at a startling rate (check out this football score of 28-17 in a loss to Northern Iowa). Overall, I’d say we’re doing pretty well.

RBIs vs Left on Base and Pitching after the jump.

Read More…

Posted under Baseball

Mid Week Recap: EMU

EMU Overview

Box Score R H E
Michigan 0 0 8 0 1 0 0 2 0 11 11 3
EMU 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 3 6 0

W – Brandon Sinnery (1-0)   L – Glover (1-2)

Hitting

Kevin Cislo,
Image from mgoblue.com

Hurray for not being shut out!  Michigan bounced back from the slow weekend with a parade of hits in the third inning, lead by Kevin Cislo.  Cislo went 3/5 in the game with 3 runs and 2 RBIs.  In the third inning alone, he lead off with a double, stole third, scored a run, hit another double to plate 2 RBIs, and then scored again.  That’s one super productive inning.

Speaking of that inning, the team scored 8 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks.  Two runners advanced on balks, and two runners advanced on wild pitches.  Everything was going right for the Wolverines as they batted 11 in the frame.

Hitting was contagious as every starter except Alan Oaks had a hit in the game.  Speaking of starters, one name you won’t see in today’s starting lineup was Justin Lorenz.  Urban got the start at third, and Oaks in right field.  I’m not certain, but this may be a regular thing for a little while.  Lorenz hasn’t produced to the means we need him to.  The interesting part of this is if Oaks produces either.  In his two starts, he has yet to register a hit.  I like the move myself.  Oaks has a better history and more experience on his side.  I imagine he’ll find his swing pretty soon.   It’s something to keep an eye on as the we enter the conference season.

Pitching

Something else to keep an eye on is Brandon Sinnery and a chance at the weekend rotation.  The freshman had a fairly solid start – or great start if you compare him to anyone lately not named Fetter – against the Eagles.  Sinnery lasted 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts.  I’ll take that against most teams.

The bullpen also looked considerably better.  Wilson had his second solid appearance, giving up an unearned run.  Cislo had a throwing error on a fielders choice trying to throw to second base.  Without radio, I’m not sure what happened, but a run scored on the play.

Burgoon threw a scoreless eighth, allowing a single up the middle, but striking out two.  Mike Dufek finished the game with three strikeouts and a walk in the 9th inning.  This was a much needed confidence booster for both pitchers.

Notable Stars

  • Kevin Cislo – 3/5  2 RBI, 3 R,  2 2B, SB
  • Ryan LaMarre – 2/4  RBI, R, BB, SB
  • Anthony Toth – 1/2  RBI, 2 R, BB
  • Brandon Sinnery -  5 IP, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K
  • Team Base Running – 4/4 in steals
  • Team LOB – only 5 left on base

Notable Goats

  • Kevin Cislo – His error lead to a run

Thoughts

Having not seen or heard the game, but only having the box score and recap, I’m just as clueless as most of you as to how the game actually went.  If someone miraculously made it to the game, drop a comment.

Not in the Polls

Poll Current LW
RPI (3/17/09) 134 106
NCBWA NR* 25
Collegiate Baseball NR 28
BaseballAmerica NR NR
Ping!Baseball NR NR
Rivals NR NR
USA Today/ESPN 42* 28*

Surprise! Not really.  Michigan shows up in the receiving votes of two polls (NCBWA and Coaches), but is completely out of the Collegiate Baseball News.  No surprise there.  I’d estimate that the only reason we’re receiving votes still is due to writers or coaches not knowing what’s going on with the team.  No different than any of the other major sport polls.  RPI won’t make any jumps upward this weekend unless everyone above us and directly below us all get swept.  EMU and IPFW are in the 260-270 range of RPI right now.  They don’t really help the strength of schedule.

Minnesota shows up in BA (other receiving votes in NCBWA, and even got consideration in Rivals(!!!)), Ohio State in NCBWA and Collegiate, Illinois received votes in NCBWA. All three received votes in the coaches poll, including Illinois at #26, Ohio State #35, and Minnesota #43. Minnesota getting an honorable mention by Rivals is pretty surprising as Rivals usually doesn’t award northern teams much credit. Even if we would have swept Arizona in dominating fashion, we just might have gotten credit. Minnesota took two of three from highly ranked TCU this weekend, bumping their RPI to #17.

Coach Maloney Interviews

Coach Maloney does a weekly interview on WTKA 1050 am in Ann Arbor for the Michigan Insider radio show Wednesday mornings. I just found out about the podcast last week, so I thought I’d share it with the baseball followers we’ve got here.

Maloney also had a one-on-one interview with collegebaseballtoday.com’s Eric Sorenson this weekend in Arizona. I’ll point you over there for the full interview, but here’s a answer I found pretty interesting:

Well, as I said, we lost so many guys and we couldn’t replenish ourselves from a recruiting standpoint because we couldn’t use that money. So we did the best that we could and got some good guys, but they’re young. What we’re doing now is playing a lot of walk-on guys who have been in the system for a while. They’re actually really good college players and they’re doing a great job. They’re hungry. [...]

So when I knew we were losing some of our top players last year I knew I had to replenish them. So how was I going to do this? I’ve had to develop them over the course of time and keep them believing they’re going to have an opportunity at some point.

Pretty interesting stuff there.  Coach talks a lot about how most of his budget goes to travel rather than recruiting or scholarships.

Home Opener Friday

IPFW makes it into town on Friday for a 3pm start time. The weather is supposed to be sunny, but cold temperatures start to roll in on Thursday. Game time temperatures will be in the 40s. Sunday is currently forecasts to be rainy as well. Such is baseball weather in March for the Wolverines.

Make sure you grab your blankets, ski masks, pocket warmers, blankets, coats, flasks, and blankets to stay warm at the game. If you’re smart, you’ll sit right behind the dugouts as they generally have space heaters running full blast that spill over to the front row.

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