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Mid Week Roundup: Notre Dame

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted under Baseball

MidWeek Round Up: EMU Doubleheader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want pictures? OK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Notes:

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

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

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

Posted under Baseball

Weekend Recap: Illinois

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

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

And on to the recap.

Game 1

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

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

BTN Coverage (hopefully embedding this works):

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Stars

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

Notable Goats

  • This was solid game… everyone gets off the hook

Other Notes

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

Game 2

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

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

So remember when I said this:

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Stars

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

Notable Goats

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

Other Notes

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

Game 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Stars

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

Notable Goats

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

Other Notes

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

Wrap Up

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

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

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

Posted under Baseball

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

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

Weekend Recap: IPFW

This weekend Michigan faced off with IPFW, and did it ever turn out better than the series the weekend before against Arizona. During the Arizona game, pitching was alright, but wildly inconsistent. Hitting was doing alright, but couldn’t manage to get runs across the plate. This weekend, it was all about effectively wild and moving runners around to make them easier to score. Everything shifted from alright, too pretty good.

Game 1

Box Score R H E
IPFW 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 0
Michigan 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 x 4 11 0

W – Chris Fetter (3-1) L – Walker (0-1) Sv – Burgoon (2)

For my initial reactions, visit my post from Saturday. The story of this game was pitching. Chris Fetter, despite the pretty stat line, had a fairly weak start for him. He admittedly claimed he was just missing his spots, but from the sounds of the radio crew, perhaps he was getting squeezed a little on the corners. Either way, as mentioned, his stat line was still really good. Fetter lasted 6 innings, giving up 2 runs (both earned), 7 hits, and 2 walks while striking out 5. I’d take that out of any pitcher any day of the week, it just happened that this was Fetter on an off day. He’s just that good.

Following Fetter was Tyler Burgoon for a rare 3-inning save opportunity. Burgoon only gave up 1 hit and three walks, but did allow three base runners with 2 outs in the 8th. After a brief talk with Coach Maloney, he struck out the last batter of the inning on 4 pitches. The rest was a cake walk for Tyler.

On offense, Mike Dufek was the champion in this game, and really, the whole weekend was a Mike Dufek hit-a-thon. In this game he got the scoring started with a big 2-out double off the wall to plate Cislo and LaMarre. Dufek would finish the game 2/4 with 2 RBIs.

Notable Stars

  • Mike Dufek – 2/4 2 RBI, 2B
  • Tyler Burgoon – 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 Ks, Save
  • Alan Oaks – 2/4 HR
  • Kevin Cislo – 3/4 R, RBI
  • Fan Attendance – 731 is a solid number for opening day in 40 degree temperatures. Paul tells me they got to sit right next to former baseball center fielder Rick Leach (yes, that Rick Leach).

Notable Goats

  • Kenny Fellows – Despite getting a hit and walk, he stranded 4 base runners. More on stranding runners in the coming days.

Game 2

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

W – Eric Katzman (3-1) L – Herrold (1-1) Sv – Miller (2)

This game probably would have bored half of the casual fans to death. Outside of the 2 innings, this game was an exercise of either offensive futility, or as I like to call it, good pitching and defensive excellence. Again, check the Saturday Reaction post for my initial thoughts.

Michigan jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first following a pair of singles by Cislo and Fellows and a Ryan LaMarre sacrifice fly. Two batters later Mike Dufek continued his hit parade with a bomb to right field. The hit even rattled a few people out of Dance Marathon as the homer hit the indoor track building where DM was taking place. Huzzah for uncounted attendance watching through the fence!

In the top of the second, Eric Katzman did his best sabotage effort. After giving up a lead off single, he then committed a throwing error on a pick off at first. The ball got away far enough from Dufek to allow the runner to second. Later on in the at-bat, Katzman balked the runner over to third. The explanation was hazy from the announcers as they didn’t see it either, but they believe he didn’t come to a full pause in the set position. He followed this up by giving up a sacrifice fly. If you ask me that’d be an earned run as it was all Katzman for letting him score, but baseball rules say its unearned.

The rest of the game Katzman was straight dealing. While he still was fairly inconsistent in hitting the strike zone, he managed to be just controlled enough to garner 10 Ks (!), a career high. Katzman was coming at the batters with many off speed pitches, including breaking balls and change ups. They were left just off balance by the several balls in the dirt that they were guessing most of the night.

Katzman was by no way economical with his pitches. Over his 6 innings, Katzman threw 100 pitches, only 61 of which were strikes. Ideally, he’d be hitting the century mark somewhere late in the 7th inning. Just for the sake of comparison, the IPFW pitcher threw all 8 innings and only threw 105 pitches. This trend of high pitch counts and early exits appear to be the normal thing for Katzman.

After Katzman left, Matt Miller entered the game for another 3-inning save opportunity – not so rare I guess. Miller picked up right where Katzman left off, striking out 5 in his 3 innings. He only allowed one hit and one walk in that time as well.

Offense for Michigan after the 2nd inning was horrendous. Not once from the third to eighth innings did Michigan ever get more than 3 batters up to the plate. Alan Oaks ended two innings with ground ball double plays. LaMarre got doubled up on a line drive back to the pitcher, which I can feel alright about as that’s just the luck of the draw. In another inning we got picked off at first. I can’t say we wasted opportunities, but we sure didn’t make the most of our base runners in this game.

Notable Stars

  • Eric Katzman – 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 10 K, 2 BB, W
  • Matt Miller – 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, Save
  • Mike Dufek – 1/2 2-run-HR, BB
  • LOB – 0 runners left on base?

Notable Goats

  • Eric Katzman in the 2nd inning – 1B, E1, Balk, SAC FLY
  • Alan Oaks – 2 inning ending double plays

Game 3

Box Score R H E
IPFW 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 11 3
Michigan 0 0 2 0 0 3 1 3 x 9 14 0

W – Travis Smith (3-2) L – Baatz (0-1)

IPFW had every chance in the world to take this game, but Mike Wilson and Travis Smith became master escape artists every time the pressure was put on. They did just enough to get out of a couple of jams, and the offense finally started to roll by the 6th inning.

Mike Wilson continued the “wildly effective” pitching routine portrayed by Eric Katzman the day before. Despite throwing first pitch strikes to 13 of his first 18 batters, Wilson quickly fell behind batters and was forced into making hitters’ pitches. When it came to crunch time, Wilson locked down and made his pitches. He stranded 8 base runners on the afternoon in just 5 innings of play.

Wilson did give up one run in the third inning. After a lead off double and two quick outs, Wilson gave up back to back singles. I guess there just wasn’t enough pressure on him, so he tried to get runners on first and third so he could pitch better?

The run gave IPFW a short-lived 1-0 lead, their last lead of the game. Mike Dufek answered in the bottom half of the third with yet another home run, his second in as many games. The home run also extended his hitting streak to 10 games. According to the broadcasters, the ball landed in the Alumni Stadium, the softball field, well past the fence of the Ray Fisher Stadium. Wow.

Travis Smith came in with a 2-0 lead at this point and was throwing gas. His control wasn’t quite there, but he also managed to work himself out of jams. Smith stranded 4 base runners in 3 innings of work. He did allow one run to score in the 6th, leaving Wilson with a no decision. Kalczynski was crossed up on a pitch which lead to a passed ball. This moved a runner to second, who then would score on an ensuing single.

With the score tied at two in the 6th, Michigan came back to answer in the bottom of the inning. John Lorenz had the big hit with two outs, a home run to left field. This sparked the offense as Toth and Cislo (career high 15 game hit streak) both followed up with singles setting the stage for a Kenny Fellows double off the right field wall. Unfortunately Fellows thought he was a little faster than he was, getting caught trying to stretch it into a triple. Michigan was then up 5-2 and would never look back.

Michigan would add another in the 7th following a Dufek double and Alan Oaks single. Yet again, we had a batter runner thrown out trying to stretch for an extra base. Oaks wasn’t nearly fast enough to stretch it into a double. I appreciate the aggressiveness from Oaks, but just because he scored on a suicide squeeze in game one doesn’t mean he can barrel into second on a shallow hit to the outfield.

Michigan added two more in the 9th. After back-to-back singles by Kalczynski and Lorenz, Cislo went to sacrifice bunt. The pitcher fielded the bunt poorly then made a hurried attempt to second which skipped to the bag. Everyone was safe. Fellows followed that with a single to score two runs. LaMarre then hit a soft pop up between the center fielder and the second basemen. The ball popped out of the second basemen’s glove as the two players collided. Both players were alright and stayed in the game. Cislo scored from third on the play, but Fellows was forced out at second as it wasn’t clear if the ball was caught. He stayed close to first in case he had to tag. Tough out, but at least the two outfielders were okay.

Mike Dufek came in after this and closed out the game. Michigan won the game and it’s first home series of the year. Things were good and “Celebrate Good Times” was played.

Notable Stars

  • Kenny Fellows – 2/5 4 RBI, 2B
  • Alan Oaks – 3/4 RBI
  • Mike Dufek – 2/4 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, 2B
  • John Lorenz – 3/4 2 R, RBI, HR
  • Kevin Cislo – 15 game hitting streak

Notable Goats

  • Ryan LaMarre – Only starter without a hit, hitless all weekend

First Inning Shenanigans

For those of you who didn’t listen to the game, there was a bit of a commotion in the top of the first inning. With runners on first and third, Wilson threw a pitch toward the plate that was well low and inside. The pitch bounced in the front of the batter’s box and bounced off toward the IPFW dugout.

Kalczynski didn’t hustle right after the ball, which sent the runners going. The runner from third scored easily, and the runner from first came all the way around as none of the players on the field knew where the ball went to… or did they? Comes to find out the umpire didn’t see the ball hit off the batter.

The umpires conferenced after Coach Maloney and Timmy Kal made their case. They made the ruling that the batter was hit by the pitch. Both runs were taken off the board and the batter was given first base without even arguing. I know if I was hit but they gave me the choice of first base with the bases loaded and one out or 2 runs in and me still at bat, I’d be hollering in that umpire’s ear that there was no way I was touched by the pitch. IPFW didn’t even attempt to argue, which worked out really poorly for them. Wilson struck out the next two batters stranding the bases loaded. The crises was averted and Michigan didn’t have to worry about being down 2-0 right out of the shoot.

Lineup Shuffling

Coach Maloney has been shuffling the lineup frequently of late. With Alan Oaks now available after missing the first month with sickness and with Chris Berset still unavailable after I believe a broken thumb, there have been a couple attempts to balance out the lineup. Most of the activity has been centered around Jake McLouth at DH, Oaks in RF or at DH, Urban in RF or at 3B, and Lorenz at 3B.

Jake McLouth has been cooling off since my initial inquiry about him switching with Dufek in the lineup. I took another look at the stats before game 3 of the weekend to see how the two had been doing. I don’t think it’s worth going into deeply here, but long story short, Dufek has caught fire. His current 10 game hitting streak started the day the change took place. Coincidence? Yes, probably. Good for the team? Of course. So do I care that much? No. I don’t see the two switching in the near future, but if McLouth doesn’t keep producing, he may be run out of the DH spot.

Who would take it you ask? That would be Alan Oaks. Oaks returns after a bit of an illness to start the season. Last year, Oaks made several starts at third base doing pretty well. Alan offers some major power and appears to be getting hot right now. This weekend he hit for a .545 clip with 2 runs and an RBI. Not bad for hitting in the 6/7/8 holes.

The other alternative to Oaks in the DH is to place him in right field, where he is a slight drop in defensive prowess. Moving him here forces Urban either to the bench, such as in Game 3, or to play third base, such as in Game 2. Urban came to Michigan as a second basemen, so he does have infield experience. I’m not sure what to expect of him at third, but it probably couldn’t be too much worse than Lorenz has been there.

Lorenz hasn’t been too poor defensively at third base, but his .895 fielding percentage does leave a little bit to be desired. He’s been our best option there so far, and I don’t think he’s done too poorly at the hot corner. The first few weekends he wasn’t really tested too much and had a couple early season mental mistakes. He’s become pretty solid there over the last 2 weekends, flashing some great leather. His hitting has been his week point, despite his performance in Game 3. From what I can see (read: my opinion), Lorenz has great potential, he just will only show flashes of it this year, and not be very consistent at the plate. He’ll be really good in a year or two.

Final Thoughts on IPFW

IPFW is a good team that will knock off a few good teams this year. They just ran into a more talented team this weekend. They should compete with Centenary and Oral Roberts for the Summit League Championship this year. I at least hope so, as with their current RPI, sweeping them didn’t help us that much with our own RPI. We have moved from 134 as of Tuesday to only 117 on Sunday morning. EMU helped even less as they are currently about 20 spots lower in RPI than IPFW.

Speaking of EMU, it’s just one game left before we start the conference season. We finish the home-and-home with EMU on Wednesday at 3pm. Right now the weather says 51 degrees and a 40% chance of rain. We’ll see if the game isn’t bumped up earlier in the week or if they try to play it then.

Posted under Baseball

Preview: Arizona

Times have been adjusted as I thought it was Mountain Time, not Mountain Standard Time, which is currently Pacific Daylight Time. Arizona doesn’t use daylight savings time. Ridiculous.

Arizona

from arizona.edu

10pm Friday, 7pm Saturday, 2pm Saturday (all EDT)
Jerry Kindall Field
Tuscon, AZ

Media Game 1: Live Stats, Audio, and Video ($*)
Probable Starters Game 1: Chris Fetter (2-0)
Media Game 2: Live Stats, Audio, and Video
Probable Starters Game 2: Eric Katzman (2-1)
Media Game 3: Live Stats, Audio, and Video
Probable Starters Game 3: Travis Smith (2-1)
Series:  Arizona leads 42-12
Last Meeting:  Michigan 3, Arizona 4, 2008 Regional in Ann Arbor

*Video requires at least paying a $9.95 monthly subscription for buy it — as it is automatically renewed each month.  It also requires you to download Microsoft Silverlight 2.0.  I really wish Michigan would expand its sports coverage to this level.

Overview

The Arizona Wildcats are a middle of the road Pac10 team, picked to finish 5th by the coaches, with a current record of 8-7 including a three game sweep by #9 Georgia and a 2 game sweep by #11 Oklahoma State.  Those two sweeps are why they still sit so high in RPI (#61) despite the record.  The Wildcats haven’t really played anyone I would say that compares closely to Michigan.  Most teams they have played are either top 15 or bottom 150.

Offense

Unlike many of the teams Michigan has faced so far, Arizona doesn’t have that one guy that makes the offense click.  They, instead, use a combined team effort to produce runs.   They currently have 9 batters of the 13 players seeing regular playing time with batting averages over .300.  Due to the inconsistency in the lineup, I’m not sure what to expect going into the weekend.

I imagine second basemen Rafa Valenzuela will keep his lead off role this weekend.  He is leading the team in hitting at .378, but he’s only started in 10 of the 15 games so far.  He’s not much of a threat on the bases, currently 2/3 on stolen base attempts.

The current RBI leader for the Wildcats is third basemen Jett Bandy with 15.  Bandy has played in 14 of Arizona’s 15 games, batting anywhere from 3rd to 6th.  He’s only batting .296, but he also leads the team in doubles with eight.

At the bottom of the order, Bryce Ortega has provided consistency at shortstop in his 14 starts.  Ortega has hit .327 with a team high 17 runs scored.  He’s second on the team with 13 RBIs.

Bobby Coyle is the only player to start every game this season.  The centerfielder is only batting .284 with 10 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

Pitching

Starting pitching has been a real weakness for the Wildcats this year.  I can’t make heads or tails of their rotation so far, and the Arizona website hasn’t announced probable starters yet either.  Last week saw their coach try two new starters, neither of which did particularly well against #11 Oklahoma State.

Coming into the season, Arizona was looking to set up the rotation around three pitchers, Preston Guilment, Matt Veltmann, and Donn Roach.  So far on the season, they have a combined record of 3-5 and 6.30 ERA.  Guilmet has had the best success of the three, going 16 innings in 3 starts, posting a 1-1 record and 5.76 ERA.  He also sports a 7:15 walk-to-strikeout ratio.  The other two are averaging just over 3 innings per start.

Freshman Kyle Simon also made three starts for the Wildcats.  In his three starts, Simon has gone 10 2/3 innings, allowing 13 runs (9 earned), on 17 hits and 5 strike outs.  He also had a long relief appearance against Georgia, going 4 innings giving up 8 hits and 3 runs.  His ERA currently sits around 6.75.

Relief pitching has been used early and often this season for Arizona.  Cody Burns, a right handed senior, has already made 12 appearances this season.  His numbers haven’t been the best this season, giving up 8 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings pitched with 8 walks and 21 strike outs.  His overall appearances have been hampered by poor fielding to the tune of 6 unearned runs.

Jason Stoffel has been the bright spot in the bullpen.  As their closer, he has seen work in 9 games, striking out 22 in 16 innings.  He has three saves on the season, and has been impressive in each outing.  His 1.60 ERA is by far the best on the team.

Outlook

I think Michigan may be able to win 2 of 3 in this series, which should really help with the RPI.  The game I’m least optimistic about is the Eric Katzman start.  I’m not saying I expect us to lose, but its the game I’m least certain about.  Chris Fetter should be his normal self and I’m really liking what I’m seeing from Travis Smith lately.  The bullpen will be well rested as we didn’t have a midweek game.

It will be interesting to see who catches most of the games in this series.  As it stands, Berset is currently listed as fourth on the depth chart at catcher.  I can’t say I saw that coming, but with the emergence of Coley Crank and Jake McLouth as offensive forces, and Timmy Kalcynzski’s leadership, Berset has seen himself drop from solid starter to 4th string in a matter of weeks. Chris Berset remains out with a broken thumb (as pointed out by JJ in the comments).  Crank hit extremely well last week, McLouth could make an appearance there, or team captain Timmy Kalczynski, who is listed as probable starter in the weekly release may be used.  [updated after comment made by JJ]

Other Note

Saturday is “Club Arizona Kid’s Day” which sounds violent, but is actually a pretty good deal for any person under the age of 18, as tickets are $1 and other activities are held throughout the ball park.

Posted under Baseball

Baseball (Last) Weekend Update

Reminder, Tim’s basketball preview can be found below.

Sorry for the prolonged absence right as things got started, but sometimes real life just jumps in the way. As for the baseball team, they continued without me, to a rather successful weekend.  I’ll get the game recaps out of the way first, then get a couple of the usual mid week updates out of the way as well.

Michigan 11, Siena 3
Box Score
W -Chris Fetter (2-0) L – Chaput (1-1)

The first game didn’t start so well: Chris Fetter’s second pitch of the game went well over Kenny Fellow’s head in left, out of the park, placing Siena up 1-0. He then gave up a walk and a single with no outs, but a strike out and 4-6-3 double play ended the rally. Despite this early scare, Fetter ended the game with 7 innings pitched, 11 strike outs, and one walk. He gave up 6 hits, two of them were solo home runs. Those two home runs would be all the runs Fetter would give up. Brandon Sinnery would close out the last two innings, giving up 1 run on two hits, one walk, and two strike outs. Great day for Michigan pitching.

Offense didn’t disappoint either. Michigan belted three home runs on the day from Nick Urban, Justin Lorenz, and Alan Oaks. The homeruns for Urban and Lorenz were their first career home runs for Michigan. It was good to see Lorenz make some noise; he was only hitting .125 coming into the weekend, with both previous hits coming in one game. Oaks made the most of his first pinch hitting appearance of the season after returning from illness, knocking a 2-run homer.

I won’t go too much into the hitting, as every hitter in this game had at least one hit. Five starters had more than one hit. One defensive note, Nick Urban had one hell of a diving catch in right field to start the second inning. He made a catch at full extension catch on a low fly ball. I love the defense, so props to Urban. It would have made Web Gems.

Notable Stars

  • Chris Fetter – 7 IP, 2 ER, 11K, BB
  • Nick Urban – 2/4 3 RBI, 2 Rs, HR, web gem
  • Tim Kalczynski – 2/4 2 Rs

Notable Goats

  • um…? Ryan LaMarre was the only player without a run or RBI? Yeah, I got nothing.

Michigan 13, Siena 3
Box Score
W – Eric Katzman (2-1) L – Hartman (0-3)

As Other Chris pointed out in her tweet, no radio for this game, just stats. Looking at the play-by-play, Katzman looked pretty shaky in this game, but managed to avoid much more damage. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing at this point. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I didn’t really expect Katzman to repeat his week 1 performance very often. He’s still working on becoming a guy who can go more than 5 innings, it just hasn’t happened yet.

This game was no different as Siena was on base early and often. The Saints left 8 on base during Katzman’s 5 2/3 innings of work. That’s not something we want to see. Neither is a run scoring wild pitch from Katzman. You really have to hope Eric holds up over the season. This is by far the most pitching he’s done in a season since at least high school.

The bullpen did pretty well. Burgoon got Katzman out of the 6th inning, stranding one of Katzman’s baserunners. He worked a pretty quick 7th inning, but did give up a solo home run. Matt Gerbe finished the game with 2 shutout innings.

Offense is what won this game for us. Ryan LaMarre is a beast. Ryan went 3 for 4 in this game with 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, and 3 runs. He even stole a base. By himself, Ryan LaMarre outscored the entire Siena team; that’s a great feeling. Mike Dufek also poured on the offense, going 2 for 4 with a home run, a double, 2 runs, and 2 RBIs.

A big positive from this game was production from the bottom of the order. Coley Crank made the best of his spot start at catcher, going 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs. John Lorenz registered his first single of the year (actually two of them) in a 2 for 4 performance with a run scored. Toth, still in the 9-hole, finished 1 for 4 with a run and an RBI.

Notable Stars

  • Ryan LaMarre – 3/4 4 RBIs, 3 Rs, BB, SB,
  • Mike Dufek – 2/4 2 RBIs, 2 Rs, BB
  • Kevin Cislo – 2/5 RBI, 2 Rs
  • Eric Katzman – 5 2/3 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 K, 1 BB

Notable Goats

  • Justin Lorenz – Error leading to a run
  • Eric Katzman – baserunners a plenty and a wild pitch for a run

Michigan 19, Siena 6
Box Score
W – Travis Smith (2-1) L – Sohl (0-2)

The offense that caught fire in the middle innings of the first game of the double header continued on in game 2. Michigan logged 19 runs on 20 hits, including 4 doubles and 3 home runs. Thirteen different Wolverines logged a hit in the game. The only player in the game not to was Tim Kalczynski, who only batted once. He along with Fellows were the only players in the game not to score a run. It was an all around whooping.

Ryan LaMarre lead the team with 4 RBIs coming off of a fielder’s choice and a three run homer. Cislo, Crank, and Oaks each had three runs scored a piece. Crank lead the team with three hits, giving him 6 total in the double header. Along with the previously mentioned LaMarre, home run, both Mike Dufek and Garrett Stephens also collected home runs.

We knocked the Siena bull pen around until it exploded. Eight different pitchers were thrown against us, two of which didn’t even record an out. Only one pitcher managed to not give up a run.

Michigan’s pitching, on the other hand, was quite solid. Travis Smith put in 6 strong innings of work, giving up only 2 earned runs (and 1 unearned). He also struck out 8 while only giving up 4 hits and 2 walks. I’ll take that kind of start every week. It will be interesting to see if he moves up to the game 2 starter or if Coach Maloney will leave the right/left/right handed rotation.

Matt Miller and Jeff DeCarlo threw the last 3 innings. Miller looked good but had an unearned run scored upon him. DeCarlo continued to look shaky, but at least he didn’t hit anybody this time out. He did give up 2 earned runs (one unearned).

Speaking of all of these unearned runs, what was up with the defense? I’m not just talking about this game, but the last few. We’ve given up 10 unearned runs in the last two weekends (7 games). That’s not very good. Our team percentage of .963 isn’t too bad, but our opponents are definitely making us pay for our mistakes. I’ll probably take a look at our opponents’ fielding percentage and earned vs unearned runs scored in my next Stat Watch.

Notable Stars

  • You Pick’em, you’re probably right.

Notable Goats

  • McLouth & Lorenz errors lead to unearned runs

POTW Honors

Ryan LaMarre picked up Big10 Player of the Week (shared with Illinois’s Aaron Johnson) honors for his weekend performance. His weekend totals:

H/AB OB% SLG% RBI R HR BB K
6/12 .571 1.250 8 4 3 2 2

And he had an outfield assist. Ryan LaMarre is a beast.

BigTen Hardball All Weekend Team

Dufek, LaMarre, Crank, Fetter all make the list. The team this week was a bit lengthy. Too many players are playing too well right now. Illinois makes a lot of noise on the list as they took 2 of 3 from #1 LSU in Baton Rouge.

Poll Watching

Poll Current LW
RPI 106 TBA
NCBWA 25 28
Collegiate Baseball 28 28
BaseballAmerica NR NR
Ping!Baseball NR NR
Rivals NR NR
USA Today/ESPN 28* 32*

*in also receiving votes

Illinois also jumped us in the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball polls after taking 2 of 3 from previous #1 LSU. RPI is now available through Boyd’s World. We’re pretty low and for good reason, we haven’t played many good teams yet. Ohio State and Illinois both sit in the top 20, at #15 and #16 respectively. They both have had impressive games against good opponents this season. The best team we’ve played so far is Jacksonville at #64, who we split a double header with. Arizona, this weekend’s opponent is currently #61.

Programming Schedule

Next post will probably be the Arizona preview. I hope to get it out by tomorrow night, but I’ve got 4 games to umpire tomorrow. We’ll see if I can get it in before Friday morning.

Posted under Baseball

Reaction: Michigan 4, Purdue 3 (10) / Michigan 6, Cincinnati 1

Game 1

This season is going to give me a heart attack. Michigan wins its second in a row to open the season on a walk off single, this time in the 10th inning. Tyler Burgoon gets the win again, he’s now on pace to win 55 games this season, shattering the previous record by over 30. He pitched 4 innings of shut out relief, keeping Michigan close.  He was definitely the player of the game.  Maloney didn’t even warm anyone else up the down the stretch of the game.  That’s the kind of confidence Rich has in Tyler.

McLouth was a hero again this time with the walk off single. He went 3-5 in the game with 2 RBIs. That puts him at .444 for the season with 7 total bases.  Toth also did a great job working the count.  He earned three walks in the game, including one to set up the winning run.

The one area that looked ugly though was baserunning.  We were caught three times today.  We’re slightly more aggressive this year, but it has yet to pay off.  It’ll be interesting to see if we keep up this level of intensity on the base paths or if Maloney will change up his plan of attack.

As said previously, I’ll have the full recap up for the weekend sometime on Monday. We have a quick turn around as Michigan faces Cincinnati in about an hour and a half.

Game 2

Michigan finally decided to get ahead and stay ahead in this game.  We gave Travis Smith a 3 run lead before he even took the mound, and that was all we needed.  Smith and Matt Miller combined to give up only one run while striking out 16.  Mike Dufek added a 3 run homer, his first of the year, as insurance late, but even that wasn’t needed.

Aaron Fitt at Baseball America described the Dufek bomb thusly:

[Mike Dufek] hit a Chris Dominguez-like bomb in the top of the seventh, a three-run shot that gave the Wolverines a 6-1 lead. This missile cleared the berm behind the right-field fence and bounced halfway up the chain-link fence that shields U.S. 19. And it got there in a hurry. I haven’t seen a ball hit that hard since Dominguez hit two massive homers for Louisville in the 2007 College World Series.

Of course Aaron screwed up the name of the player, citing Mike Spina (of Cincinnati) instead, but the description of the homerun was spot on with Dufek’s blast.  In other hitting standouts, Nick Urban also had quite a day, just a home run shy of the cycle.

We’re off for the rest of the night.  Tomorrow is St. John’s, who scored 12 on Iowa in the first inning in route to a 18-3 shellacking, yikes.

Posted under Baseball