Michigan sophomore designated hitter Dominic Clementi made the slow but short walk from first base to the away team’s dugout.
Clementi grounded out to Purdue shortstop Harry Shipley for the final out of a 2-1 Boilermaker victory despite having runners on second and third, putting an end to what was a poor weekend showing from the Wolverines in West Lafayette.
Despite coming off of a home series loss to Illinois, Michigan was hopeful heading into its final series of the season. Still in play for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament and for the Big Ten regular season title, the Wolverines understood they needed to come up big.
Instead, Michigan fell short, scoring only four runs in the three-game series while losing 3-0, 6-3 and 2-1, respectively. To add insult to injury, Michigan coach Erik Bakich was ejected for the final innings of the Wolverines’ last game of the season.
At the plate, the Wolverines tallied just one extra-base hit in the entire series – an RBI double by sophomore right fielder Christan Bullock – and could not seem to find their groove.
Michigan also struggled defensively, committing five errors throughout the weekend which led to three important runs in a low scoring series.
In the second game of the series – which was suspended in the bottom of the eighth inning on Friday night and finished Saturday afternoon due to torrential downpour – senior catcher Brock Keener allowed two passed balls with a runner on third in the third and seventh innings, respectively.
One play in particular in the seventh inning highlighted what was the worst inning the Wolverines played during the weekend set.
Senior right-hander Jayce Vancena began the inning with a 3-2 lead.
After giving up only two hits and one run in 2.1 innings of relief, the wheels fell off for the senior. Three walks – one intentional – a sacrifice bunt, a hit-by-pitch and a double later, Bakich made the switch to senior right-hander Alec Rennard.
After recording only one out while walking in a run and hitting a batter to allow a second run, Bakich made yet another switch to junior right-hander William Tribucher, who got a quick strikeout to end the five-run inning.
That, however, was the only real sore spot for what was a good outing from the Wolverines’ pitching staff. Outside of that inning, Michigan had relented only three earned runs.
Highlighted by sophomore right-hander Karl Kaufmann and sophomore left-hander Tommy Henry’s combined 11.1 innings, 10 strikeouts and three earned runs, the third best pitching staff in the Big Ten – owners of a 3.47 earned run average – did its job.
With the Big Ten Tournament beginning next week in Omaha, it is not an optimal time for the Wolverines to begin losing their composure.