Blue hopes to catch Roadrunners

BY RYAN LEVENTHAL
Daily Sports Writer
Published March 7, 2002

The Michigan baseball team is hoping a trip to Texas for a three-game series this weekend will be a new beginning to a bright season filled with high expectations.

"It's like a 15-round fight," Michigan interim head coach Chris Harrison said. "We're through the first two rounds. There's still a lot to go."

After last weekend's black eye, when the team competed at the Riverside Baseball Invitational, it was clear that changes would have to be made in pitching and defense to make sure that the upcoming "rounds" are better than the first.

"They were good clubs with good hitting," Harrison said of the caliber of play in California. "We didn't play good defense. We played poorly."

Michigan (1-8) has struggled with its pitching. Through the first nine game s,the pitching staff has a 9.00 ERA. Opposing teams have a whopping .354 batting average while more than doubling the Wolverines with 106 runs. But Harrison remains optimistic.

"I wasn't concerned with the pitching," Harrison said. "They made adjustments during the game, which was good."

Harrison has made some adjustments of his own for this weekends trip to Texas, where the team will take on Texas-San Antonio (6-5).

The team will play which has a dismal 1-8 record after nine games will play a tomorrow evening, at 7 p.m. and the have a pair of day games on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Harrison will call on the main weapon from last year's staff, senior righthander Bobby Korecky. He is slated to head to start tomorrow evening when the team takes on the Roadrunners in Wolff Stadium.

The fact Korecky has only had one start this year is surprising after he had a stellar season last year, pitching eight complete games with a 3.36 ERA. Last weekend Harrison was forced to bring him out of the bullpen after one of the Wolverines' pitching implosions.

"We're trying to get our four main pitchers three starts each before the Big Ten schedule," Harrison said.

But Korecky seems cool about the slow start.

"It's not the end of the world," Korecky said. "We didn't plan on going undefeated."

Harrison is also taking a proactive approach with his defensive lineup.

This weekend he will move defensive mainstay Brock Koman to shortstop from third base. Catcher Jake Fox will also move to third to fill the void left by Koman.

Harrison will have an open audition on Friday and Saturday to determine who will replace Fox at catcher for Sunday's afternoon game.

"We are looking to tighten down our defense," Harrison Said.

The jumbling of key players may have hurt the team thus far, but are planned to have positive results in the long run.

Hopefully with some extra attention to defense and solid pitching from Korecky, the Wolverine hitting can shine and turn things around.