The runs came early and often.
Junior centerfielder Jonathan Engelmann opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with an RBI double. Later that inning, Michigan gained a 3-0 lead off freshman slugger Jesse Franklin’s two-run shot, his team-leading fifth of the year. An at-bat later, sophomore outfielder Dominic Clementi lined his first career home run over the center field wall.
Before the Terrapins (3-4 Big Ten, 16-18 overall) could catch their breaths, the Wolverines (7-0, 20-11) had laid four runs on them in the bottom of the first. The early offensive output put Michigan in the driver’s seat and it never left en route to a 10-4 drubbing over their conference opponents.
“We got off to a quick start,” said sophomore lefty Tommy Henry. “That makes the rest of the game a lot easier, when you can jump on them and throw the first punch like that. Playing with a 4-0 lead at the end of the first inning is a lot more comfortable than playing with a 0-0 lead at the end of the first inning. So huge credit to the offense for getting us going early.”
The quick start was a welcome sign for the Wolverines who have struggled at times to score in the early innings of games. Over the course of Michigan’s current 16-game win streak, their opponents have scored first in eight games.
Thanks to a strong six inning performance from Henry though, Maryland didn’t score until the fifth inning, when Maryland’s Marty Costes recorded a two RBI double. Those would be the only runs Henry would surrender on the afternoon.
“Tommy’s just evolved into a quality Friday night starter,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “Looking around the country and comparing him, not just to in our league and in our team but nationally as well, he’s just very skilled, very talented kid. He gives us a chance every time he toes the rubber.”
In the bottom of the fifth the Wolverines would better the Terrapins’ two runs with three more of their own. Similar to the first inning, Engelmann, and Franklin were once again the offensive catalysts. The center fielder reached on his second double of the night, and was driven in when Franklin lined a double of his own into left field. Clementi and freshman Jordan Nwogu would also each hit RBI singles in the inning to extend the lead to six runs.
Engelmann would add to his hit tally in the seventh by blasting a solo homer into right field, the Wolverines’ season-high third home run of the game. For a team that usually prides itself on getting runners on base and manufacturing runs creatively, an offensive display featuring so many extra base hits was a bit surprising.
“Well, our offense is just balanced — that’s what it is,” Bakich said. “We have some power threats, but we have a lot of athletes who can run, so we take what opportunities there are. Today the ball’s carrying because the wind was blowing out and it was a day to look to elevate the ball and look for pitches that were up in the zone. For the guys that do have some thump in the bat, they were looking to try to knock some balls into the gaps and do some damage.”
Behind a relief rotation of junior right-hander Troy Miller, star freshman right-hander Jeff Criswell and sure handed junior closer William Tribucher, Michigan would only give up two more runs in the final three innings.