After losing Kendall Patrick and Jackson Glines to graduation and the MLB draft, respectively, the Michigan baseball team was expected to transition into a pitching-oriented team.
But instead, while riding a five-game home win streak into the weekend, the Wolverines continued to display prowess at the plate against Iowa (7-8 Big Ten, 18-19 overall), winning two out of three games to clinch their third Big Ten series victory of the season.
In Big Ten play, Michigan ranks first in the conference in runs scored per game, averaging 1.3 more than second-place Nebraska.
The three-game series against the Hawkeyes saw 69 hits between the two teams — 18 of which went for extra bases.
“I thought that our guys offensively have been pretty consistent in terms of looking for pitches to drive and getting the best swings off,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “It just so happened that these balls left the yard, and that’s just baseball.”
The swings that Bakich is referring to are the three home runs that the Wolverines (8-3, 28-10) tallied throughout the weekend.
In Friday’s game, with Michigan clinging to a one-run lead, sophomore first baseman Drew Lugbauer launched a two-run homer to right center field in the ninth inning for the most resounding hit of the game. The blast gave the Wolverines two crucial insurance runs late in the game.
In game two, fifth-year senior leftfielder Matt Ramsay hit a solo shot in the seventh inning to give Michigan a three-run cushion that it would hold onto, eventually prevailing with a 12-9 win.
Though the Wolverines were limited offensively in Sunday’s 8-3 rout by Iowa, they were still able to display power when fifth-year senior designated hitter Dominic Jamett — starting for just the third time this season — launched a two-run blast to left field in the second inning.
Michigan’s ability to hit the ball over the fence was a promising sight, but the play of senior centerfielder Cody Bruder was perhaps the biggest bright spot for the Wolverines.
Over the weekend, Bruder had five hits in 13 at-bats with four runs batted-in, and he also extended his hitting streak to 18 games.
“Because of his approach, his competitiveness and toughness in the box and his determination to never throw an at-bat away his results are very, very positive,” Bakich said. “He’s been a very good offensive player for our team.”
Michigan’s pitching staff should be not slept on either — it registers a top-50 earned-run average of 3.52. But the Wolverines’ offense has been the unexpected spark plug as of late and looks to prove its consistency against Michigan State this weekend after putting up just five runs against the Spartans in their April 12 non-conference matchup.