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Balanced offense leads to success for Wolverines

Patrick Barron/Daily
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By Jeremy Summitt, Daily Sports Writer
Published February 27, 2013

Michigan coach Erik Bakich preaches that good pitching and sound defense make up the recipe for playing good baseball.

But this past weekend, in a three-game series against Fordham, it was an offensive explosion — 30 runs in three games — that pushed the Wolverines forward.

“We really cut down on the strikeouts,” said freshman infielder Jacob Cronenworth. “(We) really focused on our approach and having quality at-bats every time we came up to the plate.”

Quality at-bats were more plentiful this weekend as Michigan recorded 32 hits against Fordham, compared to just 25 against California two weeks ago. Even better news for the Wolverines is the consistent balance within their lineup.

Already this season, eight different players have recorded an RBI, while 11 Wolverines have scored at least one run. If Michigan maintains this balanced offensive production while heading to the plate with a more focused mindset, it’s likely to showcase more scoring outbursts similar to this past weekend.

“It’s just an improved offense,” Bakich said. “I think some guys are doing a nice job at the top of the order and beyond. It’s just another week of development and seeing more live competition.”

Bakich also cited multiple two-out RBI as a key factor in his team’s offensive progress against Fordham. Clutch hitting was an issue last year that the Wolverines have been working to improve upon throughout these first few weeks.

With just two days of practice last week, Bakich and his players were able to make the necessary adjustments during batting practice, both mechanically and mentally. The development of a more concentrated approach at the plate, along with mechanical tweaks here and there, allowed Michigan to finally show what its offense is capable of.

“Our guys got after it and worked really hard last week,” Bakich said. “We wanted to make sure that our focus was having quality at-bats, and our guys did a great job.”

Now that the Wolverine bats have found a rhythm, the most difficult task will soon be to maintain consistency with timely hitting. Also, quality production from the top to the bottom of the lineup will play a crucial role in the upcoming weeks.

“We just need to put a complete weekend together, where we take care of business start to finish,” Bakich said. “I thought we played two complete games against Fordham, but we just need to be more consistent offensively, defensively and on the mound.”


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