That’s how many at-bats sophomore outfielder Tito Flores got last year, albeit during the shortened season.
That is also the number of doubles Flores recorded in the first game of what would become a 3-1 series win against Iowa this weekend, hitting out of the cleanup spot for the Wolverines. Flores was one of the more dangerous hitters for Michigan all weekend.
“It was one of the most thrilling opportunities that I’ve had,” Flores said. “I couldn’t thank the people around me more than anything, the whole fall. You have wonderful people, wonderful graduates that come in that are super knowledgeable about the game. You have a wonderful coaching staff that is super knowledgeable about giving you tips and pointers here and there.”
Flores moved up in the order after that first game, starting every game and hitting third in the order for the remainder of the series. Even when he was not getting hits, he drew several walks and had several long at-bats, putting pressure on the Hawkeyes to work around the threat he posed.
“He’s been consistent all fall, maybe our most consistent hitter since the beginning of the fall,” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “His development has been accelerated from last year to this year, he’s a kid that used quarantine to really advance his skill set, worked extremely hard to get stronger, more physical, more explosive, more bat speed.”
The key to his success extends beyond his physical work this offseason, though. Flores has an approach at the plate and a routine that enables him to be successful even with such limited experience at the collegiate level.
“He’s a guy that has a very professional approach at the plate,” Bakich said. “Just has an outstanding routine, his preparation is as good as anybody and he puts himself in a really good position to have success.”
Flores ended the weekend 5-for-14, but with three doubles and three walks. He also drove in two and scored five runs, including the winning run in the opener on Saturday.
“There’s always something different to play for Michigan,” Flores said. “That’s why a lot of us come here, for that reason, to play for Michigan. … We’re all just trying to get better and play for the eight letters across our chest.”
Early returns suggest Flores took a major leap this offseason. If his season is anything like his first weekend, he will give Michigan a huge boost as it looks to contend for a Big Ten title.