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Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Baseball continues midweek struggles, falls to Falcons

By Zach Shaw, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 22, 2014

Another weekday, another disappointing end for Michigan baseball fans.

For the third straight week, the Wolverines (8-7 Big Ten, 18-22-1 overall) allowed errors and free passes to headline a home midweek loss. This week, seven walks, three hit batters and two errors eliminated any chance at a win as Bowling Green defeated Michigan on Tuesday at the Wilpon Complex, 7-4.

“It doesn’t matter who you play,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “You can’t give 12 freebies away, and tonight that accounted for all of their runs. When you give any team that many opportunities, it’s going to come back and bite you, and it bit us seven times tonight.”

The free passes began just minutes after the opening pitch. With two outs in the top of the first, freshman left-hander Brett Adcock surrendered a walk. A single and another walk loaded the bases, allowing a double to give the Falcons (8-7, 17-19) an early two-run lead. An error on the ensuing play made it 3-0, a deficit that immediately deflated the Wolverines.

In the top of the third, freshman right-hander Keith Lehmann picked up where Adcock left off, as a leadoff walk and wild pitch put Bowling Green in position to extend the lead to four.

In the bottom half of the frame, Michigan began to show life on offense, as four hits — headlined by freshman infielder Trey Miller’s first career home run — quickly tied the game. But by accumulating just three hits for the rest of the game, the Wolverines showed inconsistency as they have for most of the season.

“We just need to string quality at-bats together,” Bakich said. “I’m a broken record about quality at-bats. We had 22 (quality at-bats) tonight, so our offense was fine, but good teams find a way to win even when you’re not firing on all cylinders, and we aren’t doing that right now in any area of the game.”

The miscues showed again in the seventh as two walks, a wild pitch and an error allowed the Falcons to score the go-ahead runs. Another run in the ninth made it 7-4, but by then, the team had already been defeated across the board.

Struggles at the plate, on the mound, and in the field have resulted in two consecutive losses to MAC opponents. But at 8-7, the Wolverines are currently fourth in the Big Ten standings, in solid position to make the Big Ten Tournament with a shot at an NCAA Tournament berth. With 14 regular-season games remaining, Michigan still has a chance to win a Big Ten title.

In order to do so, however, Bakich wants to see the same team that has won at least one game in each Big Ten series so far.

“We’ve got some work to do and have a ways to go,” Bakich said. “You hope for a little more consistency when you need it down the stretch, but right now it’s not there.

“It’s a frustrating team to coach because we show positive signs on the weekends, then we have letdowns in the midweeks. Hopefully we can continue to show up on the weekends and start carrying that into the rest of our games instead of taking steps back every week.”


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