- Marissa McClain/Daily
By Jeremy Summitt, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 22, 2013
It’s résumé-building season for the Michigan baseball team.
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Not individually, though. Michigan coach Erik Bakich and his players aren’t leaving Ann Arbor for anything besides road games, but the Wolverines are beginning to construct an impressive NCAA Tournament résumé.
“Every game from this point on, whether conference or non-conference, is critical, as we’re putting together a résumé not only to win a conference championship, but to earn an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament,” Bakich said.
Michigan (8-4 Big Ten, 22-16 overall) will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich. to take on Eastern Michigan (8-7 Mid-American Conference, 18-18) on Tuesday in its next opportunity to maintain an already impressive slate.
Monday, Bakich said sophomore right-hander James Bourque will get the start for the Wolverines. Bourque has already established his role as a midweek starter, boasting a 3.51 earned-run average in 41 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .263 against him.
In a disappointing weekend at Northwestern, the Wolverines faltered when they had chances to extend the lead. Many hard-hit balls were pulled back into the park due to brutal weather conditions, but as Bakich said, loud outs aren’t going to contribute to winning games.
“We need to adjust to the elements, and when the wind is howling in like it was all three games this weekend, we need to do a better job of hitting line drives and hard groundballs,” Bakich said.
Michigan left six runners on base in an extra-innings heartbreaker in game two of Sunday’s doubleheader, and the inability to record hits with runners in scoring position continues to be the Wolverines’ achilles heel.
Still, the pitching has been stellar in the last few weeks and has been the base of Michigan’s ability to win 10 of its past 12 games. Bourque will look to keep the Wolverines’ recent success alive, and with another pitching performance like last week’s — he didn’t allow a hit against then-No. 29 Notre Dame in 7.2 innings — Michigan’s chances are looking bright.
Continuously adding tallies to the Wolverines’ win column will only help the construction of their NCAA Tournament résumé that already boasts five combined wins against Michigan State and Notre Dame, which sit at Nos. 26 and 27, respectively, in the RPI. Michigan is slowly rising from its early-season hole and currently holds the 136th spot in the RPI. With obvious work left to do, Tuesday’s game, and every game after, is crucial heading into the Big Ten Tournament.