- Paul Sherman/Daily
By Colleen Thomas, Daily Sports Editor
Published July 12, 2012
New Michigan baseball head coach Erik Bakich, known for his excellent recruiting skills, is already making strides at the helm of the Wolverines' program.
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On Thursday, it was announced that right-handed pitcher Alex Daar will enroll at Michigan beginning in the fall. Daar joins nine other incoming freshmen — including fellow pitchers Jake Balicki and Tim Shannon — to help a team that finished at the bottom of the Big Ten standings.
Daar was the co-Mr. Baseball in the state of Michigan in 2012, and was selected to the All-State first team and the MSHBCA Dream Team. He attended University Liggett, where he went 28-3 on the mound in his last two seasons, helping the Knights clinch a state championship in 2011 and finish as runners-up in 2012.
"We are thrilled to add Alex to this year's recruiting class," Bakich said in a statement released by the Michigan athletic department on Thursday. "He had a tremendous amount of success on the field this year and is very deserving of the Mr. Baseball award. We look forward to his contributions as a pitcher in Maize and Blue."
Daar, Balicki and Shannon are just three of the five pitchers that will be added to Michigan’s roster in the fall. The Wolverines didn’t fare well on the mound in 2012, sitting near the bottom of almost every Big Ten pitching statistics category.
FUTURE ACES: Sophomore Trent Szkutnik is making a name for himself in his summer appearances.
Szkutnik pitched a no-hitter on June 26, as he struck out 14 while walking just two in his appearance for the Dayton Docs. The Temperance, Mich. native secured the win as Dayton topped Grand Lake, 10-0.
As of July 11, Szkutnik is 3-2 with a 3.10 ERA while striking out 35 batters in 29 innings of work. He was invited to the Great Lakes League All-Star game as a part of the 2012 Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League North All-Stars.
And two other pitchers look to improve their game to help a Wolverines' staff that had one of the Big Ten’s worst ERAs.
Senior Ben Ballantine, pitching for the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod League, and sophomore Matt Ogden, a hurler for Morehead City in the Coastal Plain League, have improved their game, as well. In his June 19 appearance, Ballantine went eight innings, giving up just three runs. Ogden fanned seven and has a 2.04 ERA.
SILVER SLUGGERS: Junior Michael O’Neill and sophomore Will Drake are picking up right where they left off.
O’Neill hit a grand slam in his June 30 appearance with Falmouth, accounting for four of the eight runs in the Commodores' 8-2 win. As of July 1, the junior slugger has four home runs and 11 RBIs in the Cape Cod League.
Drake, after a fantastic freshman campaign that was cut short by injury, is hitting .286 with six RBIs as a member of the Dayton Docs.
In addition, senior Patrick Biondi was named Cape Cod Hitter of the Week on July 8. Biondi boosted his batting average with three multi-hit games during the week. He leads in the Cape Cod League with his .404 batting average.