The Michigan baseball team (1-2 Big Ten, 17-6 overall) opened up conference at Maryland last weekend, but it will now return to Ray Fisher Stadium to host two non-conference midweek contests.
The Wolverines will face Toledo (0-3 Mid-American Conference, 5-18 overall), which is fresh off a weekend series against Northern Illinois, on Tuesday. Michigan played the Huskies two weekends ago.
The Rockets lost all three games to the Northern Illinois, with the Huskies outscoring Toledo 32-9.
When Northern Illinois and the Wolverines battled in Ann Arbor, Michigan took two out of the three games due to an offensive surge by junior third baseman Drew Lugbauer – including a walk-off home run and a grand slam.
The Rockets’ most prolific threat on offense is outfielder AJ Montoya who currently sports a .291 batting average and leads his team in runs batted-in with 17. Toledo currently has zero players batting over .300, while Michigan has three players over that mark in — redshirt sophomore left fielder Miles Lewis, sophomore second baseman Ako Thomas and senior shortstop Michael Brdar.
When the Wolverines host Central Michigan (10-13) on Wednesday, though, the task will be much tougher. The Chippewas recently earned two wins against Missouri State, but have posted mixed results this season against other Big Ten opponents.
Central Michigan took three out of four games against Northwestern, but then fell 11-2 to Michigan State just two days later.
Midweek contests may prove difficult for Michigan since the Wolverines may not receive regular rest, but the Chippewas have a deep lineup — with every player seeing the field so far this season — and just two have started and played in every game.
Infielder Alex Borglin and outfielder Daniel Robinson have started in all 23 games this season. They have combined for 37 RBI so far and are boasting a .351 and .327 batting average, respectively. Michigan has made a habit of starting off slow and with the pair batting high in the order, the Wolverines will need to ready from the first pitch.
These midweek matchups also mean that all of the teams will be without their usual starters on the mound. Junior right-hander Jayce Vancena will most likely pitch for Michigan after a stellar start during the Wolverines’ previous midweek game against Western Michigan.
But the Wolverines can expect to see a lot of fresh faces on the hill, such as freshman right-hander Karl Kauffman and sophomore left-hander William Tribucher.
Two midweek game victories may give Michigan confidence before its Big Ten home opener this weekend.