Michigan baseball headed into an elimination game against Iowa on Friday evening determined to play another day, and it earned that opportunity with a 7-1 stomping of the Hawkeyes.
Sophomore left-hander Even Hill got the start for the Wolverines (13-11 Big Ten, 30-28-1 overall) and didn’t encounter much resistance. A two-out hit in the top of the first inning was stranded at second base, and Hill had gotten off to the quick and dominating start that he needed.
Michigan failed to capitalize on its own offensive chances in the bottom half of the inning, as two runners reached base on errors but none crossed the plate.
The second inning went by without any action, but in the bottom of the third, the Wolverines finally got some offense rolling. Michigan loaded the bases after back-to-back one-out singles off the bats of sophomore shortstop Travis Maezes and third baseman Jacob Cronenworth, along with a walk from junior center fielder Jackson Glines. The Hawkeyes (10-14, 30-23) got out of the jam by inducing junior first baseman Kyle Jusick to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Iowa struck first on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning, when back-to-back singles from outfielder Dan Potempa and catcher Jimmy Frankos and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners.
In the following at-bat, the Hawkeyes sent the runner from first base on a steal, and Michigan senior catcher Cole Martin threw to second base to cut down the base stealer. When the ball left Martin’s hand, the Iowa runner on third took off for home, diving under the tag from the catcher.
The Hawkeyes’ lead wasn’t safe through the next inning, when singles from freshman left fielder Carmen Benedetti and junior right fielder Kevin White were helped along by a single from junior second baseman Eric Jacobson. Benedetti scored, and runners were at the corners with two outs for Maezes, who tripled to the right-center field gap, plating two more runs.
Outside of an error in the top of the fifth inning, Iowa went quietly, and the Wolverines struck again in the bottom half. Martin started things off with a single and scored immediately when Benedetti parked a ball in the right-field bleachers to put Michigan up, 5-1.
Singles from Potempa and Frankos along with a hit batter loaded the bases with two outs, but Hill punched out outfielder Kris Goodman to end the threat.
Another Maezes triple started the sixth inning, and he scored on a Cronenworth double. Glines followed with a single to plate the runner from third, making the game 7-1.
Hill went 7.2 innings on the night, scattering five hits and allowing only one run. Freshman right-hander Jackson Lamb finished the game out, throwing the final 1.1 innings and allowing only one baserunner.
The Wolverines play Saturday at 10 a.m. against No. 20 Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have yet to lose a game in this tournament, and Michigan will have to beat them twice tomorrow in order to advance to the championship game on Sunday.