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Wolverines' offense explodes for huge road victory against Florida Gulf Coast

BY BEN ESTES
Daily Sports Writer
Published March 4, 2010

With a weekend series with 12th-ranked North Carolina looming, the Michigan baseball team was definitely not looking ahead.

The Wolverines proved that by exploding for 13 runs and defeating host Florida Gulf Coast by a final tally of 13-7. The win was the team’s first true road victory of the season, as other victories came at neutral sites.

“Any ‘W’ we can add to the column is huge, especially against a good team like that at their place," senior catcher Chris Berset said. "It gives us a lot of momentum … so it was definitely a huge win for us.”

Michigan (4-4) was led on offense by freshman centerfielder Patrick Biondi, who went 3-for-6 with a triple and three RBI, and redshirt senior rightfielder Nick Urban, who had three runs scored and also managed three hits on the night.

The offensive performance was a welcome sign for a team that had been struggling at the plate since the injury to regular centerfielder Ryan LaMarre. The team had only managed ten runs in the four games since the preseason third-team All-American went out with a broken thumb.

“I think we just had a lot better approach as a team at the plate today,” Biondi said. “A lot of long at-bats, a lot of guys battling … just overall a good approach at the plate and guys having focused at-bats.”

All told, the Wolverines were able to collect 14 hits, their highest total since getting 20 during the opening-day blowout of Jacksonville State. Florida Gulf Coast (6-2) proved to be better competition, notching 13 of its own.

But the difference was in the field. The Eagles also had three errors, leading to six unearned runs against them. Michigan was spotless defensively, only adding to its outstanding fielding percentage, which sat at .985 coming into Wednesday’s game.

Redshirt freshman southpaw Bobby Brosnahan took the mound for his first career start for the Wolverines. The Ann Arbor native, who sat out all of last season to recover from Tommy John Surgery underwent as a senior in high school, lasted only 4.1 innings, giving five hits and six walks to go along with four earned runs.

“He walked too many guys today, but I thought his stuff was fine,” coach Rich Maloney said. “We’ll keep throwing him out there, because we think he’s going to be an outstanding pitcher for us. It’s another experience for him, his first start, and he’ll get better from it.”

Junior righthander Travis Smith (1-1) picked up his first victory of the season in relief of Brosnahan.

The squad will need to be hitting on all cylinders as it heads into a weekend series at North Carolina. The Tar Heels, having been to the College World Series in four straight seasons, are once again a strong team.

Michigan will need to hope that its breakout offensive performance stays with it on its way to Chapel Hill. North Carolina boasts two All-America candidates in its starting rotation, and the Wolverines will face both of them -- Matt Harvey and Colin Bates -- during the course of the series.

But the team is not intimidated.

“We fully expect to go in there and compete and play well and win some games,” Maloney said. “They are a really good team, they’re a great program, but we think we have a pretty good program ourselves.”

“We’re licking our chops right now,” Berset added. “We pretty much have nothing to lose, so we’re just gonna go out there and play some good baseball and pick up some ‘W‘s.”


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