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Burgoon Interview

Tyler Burgoon has been on fire in the Cape Cod League.  In 4.1 innings (3 appearances), he’s struck out 8, walked one, given up ZERO hits, and earned 3 saves.  How’s that for lighting them up?  It’s good to see he’s finally healthy from the shoulder injury he incurred covering a bunt early in the season.  Tyler was interviewed this week by CapeCodOnline.com.  He does discuss the injury, which was pretty interesting and backs up some info we heard during the season:

Not only was it a tough, physical process to come back from, but getting on the mound for the first time and throwing, knowing that my shoulder wasn’t really there. It’s kind of hard to get back there and throw strikes.

How did the injury happen?
It was a game against Oakland. There was a play in the outfield, and the throw got past the catcher. I was back there backing it up and I kind of overextended my (pitching) arm and fell. It didn’t feel too good. … Both my (shoulders) are really loose, so I think that was how I was able to come back from it really quick.

How long were you out?
I think it was two weeks.

And slightly less interesting, Burgoon also won’t pitch without Burt’s Bees lip balm in his back pocket.  I only point this out as I’ve recently become addicted, too.

Posted under Baseball

Swept in Doubleheader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted under Baseball

Mid Week Roundup: Notre Dame

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted under Baseball

MidWeek Round Up: EMU Doubleheader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want pictures? OK:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Notes:

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

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

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

Posted under Baseball

Baseball Injury List & Recruiting?

Injury List

The Daily has been covering baseball really well this year.  In an article in today’s edition, staff writer Ryan Kartje listed some injury notes:

Sophomore relief pitcher Tyler Burgoon threw Wednesday for the first time after injuring his shoulder against Oakland on Mar. 31st. Junior catcher Chris Berset, who started in 37 games last season, played catch before the game. He suffered a broken thumb on his throwing hand against Jacksonville in February. Maloney said both players should be ready for action next weekend against intrastate rival Michigan State.

The article also talks about how inexperienced Vangheluwe is as a starter.  He, like Lorenz, missed his entire senior year recuperating from surgery (including removing a rib).  Good stuff, go take a peak at the article.

Baseball Recruiting

Don’t expect any recruiting board for baseball, but I will pass along the news that the baseball team has signed a preferred walk on in left handed pitcher Rick Samuel of White Lake, Michigan’s Lakeland H.S.  He’s the 7th player to sign with the Wolverines this year, and may or may not be the last.  We are currently slated to lose at least 6 seniors, but could use some depth at other positions.  Due to the slow nature of baseball recruitment, I’ll recap the recruits after the season is over.

Also, for those wondering, its not uncommon for many of the players to be preferred walk-ons.  I believe D1 baseball teams are only allowed 11.78 scholarships, which means most players only get partial scholarships, with two or three big name players potentially getting full rides.

Posted under Baseball

Mid Week Roundup

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

Poll Watch

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

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

Links From Earlier in the Week

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

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

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

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

Bowling Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Stars

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

Notable Goats

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

Other Notes

Oakland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Stars

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

Notable Goats

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

Other Notes

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

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

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

Headed to the Weekend

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

Posted under Baseball

Weekend Recap: Iowa

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

Game 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think Coach Dahm at Iowa explained it least best:

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

Yeah Coach, that makes a ton of sense.

Notable Stars

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

Notable Goats (stretching for these)

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

Other Notes

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

Game 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Stars

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

Notable Goats

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

Other Notes

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

Game 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Stars

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

Notable Goats

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

Other Notes

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

Wrap Up

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

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

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

Posted under Baseball

We Have History: Iowa

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

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

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

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

A few of the stand outs:

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

Full Chart after the jump Read More…

Posted under Baseball

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: 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