Sophomore infielder Ted Burton stumbled backward, scrambling out of the way as a high fastball just missed his head. He looked over to Michigan coach Erik Bakich, who nodded at him and clapped, before stepping back into the batter’s box.
He then lifted the next pitch deep over the wall in left field, a no-doubter to bring in three and blow open the game, making it 9-0 in favor of the Wolverines.
The Michigan baseball team (26-14 Big Ten) defeated Maryland (25-15) 14-3. The Wolverines were dominant on both sides of the plate in a very complete performance.
Burton led the way for Michigan offensively, reaching base four times— including two doubles and a home run. Sophomore outfielders Clark Elliott and Tito Flores also collected two hits, as eight of the nine Wolverine starters picked up a hit and all nine reached base.
“(Burton is a) very good hitter,” Bakich said. “He’s got very good bat-to-ball skills, he’s always been a good hitter; the combination of being able to hit not just singles and not just be a pull hitter but being able to hit doubles and home runs and spray the ball around, he’s gotten some big hits for us for sure. He’s putting quality at bats together and giving us a chance to score some runs.”
Sophomore right-hander Cameron Weston got the start on the mound, and stifled the Maryland offense. He threw 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. He gave Michigan exactly what it needed after the team gave up 11 runs and ran through five pitchers in a tough loss yesterday.
“Weston was good,” Bakich said. “I thought he pitched out some jams and I thought he pitched well overall.”
Michigan got off to a hot start, opening the scoring in the second. Burton ripped a double down the line, and graduate transfer catcher Griffin Mazur followed with a double of his own, though Burton stayed at third— momentarily. A wild pitch scored him as redshirt sophomore outfielder Jordon Rogers drew a walk one batter later.
Sophomore outfielder Joey Velasquez was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time all season following his 2-for-3 pinch-hit performance yesterday. He stayed hot, driving a double into the gap in left-center to plate Mazur and Rogers and push the score to 3-0.
“It was awesome to see the team’s balance,” Burton said. “Joey Velzquez had a big hit yesterday and came in today and it was the same thing. It’s great that our whole team is producing.”
The Wolverines kept the momentum going in the third. Flores came up with a bases-loaded single to score Elliott, pushing the lead to 4-0 and chasing the Maryland starter from the game. The next batter, Rogers, singled in two more to push the lead to 6-0.
Burton’s blast an inning later made it three consecutive innings of three runs, giving Michigan a dominant lead.
“He’s Teddy ballgame,” Velazquez said. “He’s been on fire. Another great day today, just barreling balls up, playing really well, seeing the ball great and just doing his thing.”
The pitching needed no more help from there, as redshirt junior left-hander Ben Dragani got the job done out of the bullpen. Dragani took over in the sixth, inducing a pop out and a ground out to retire the Terrapins. Maryland got on the board with a three-run homer in the seventh, but Dragani finished the game off from there, going 3.2 innings in total.
“Dragani got a little bit of trouble with the three run homer but I thought he did fine as well,” Bakich said. “I thought that was big that he was able to finish the game, entering in the sixth, preserving some of the guys who haven’t pitched yet.”
The Wolverines kept the offense going after Weston left the game. They tacked on two runs in the sixth, as Sems doubled home sophomore infielder Jimmy Obertop and Burton plated Sems with another double of his own to extend the lead to 11-3.
“We have a very balanced lineup,” Bakich said. “We get production one through nine. It is huge to have a lineup that just feels long and has a lot of threats in it. That’s something that we absolutely feel very fortunate to have.”
Sems then launched a three-run shot in the seventh to push the lead to 14-3, capping a dominant offensive display.
Michigan responded well from the disappointment of yesterday’s loss, totally dominating the Terrapins from the first pitch to pick up a big win.
“That’s part of our identity,” Bakich said. “When we get knocked down we get up and I thought our response today was very good.”