Baseball

The Michigan baseball team is looking to find a consistent rhythm as it heads into home play.

Following an impressive win against No. 2 UCLA, as well as disappointing losses against Southern California, No. 19 Oklahoma State and Long Beach State, the Wolverines are ready to move on and smooth out the inconsistencies that were on display last week. Four consecutive matchups against Manhattan College offer an opportunity to do just that.

Senior third baseman Jimmy Kerr's two home runs were one of a few bright spots in the Michigan baseball team's inconsistent trip out west.

The California trip now behind them, there are just as many question marks swirling around the Wolverines. They defeated Northridge handily in the first three games of the series, but dropped the fourth, suffering their first loss of the season. Michigan defeated No. 2 UCLA, which Bakich called “maybe one of the best teams in the country,” but ended the trip on a two-game losing streak, falling to Southern California and Oklahoma State.

Junior right-hander Jack Weisenburger and Michigan's other relievers had an up and down weekend in California.

Michigan’s traditional pillars have been their defense and their pitching. Thus far this season, their hitting has been a pleasant surprise.
However, in the Dodgertown Classic, the relief pitching was a mixed bag, and the bats fell flat. The Wolverines have lost four out of its last five on the West Coast, and the increased competition is a good measuring stick for Michigan against warm-climate teams with more repetitions under their belt.

The Michigan baseball team went 1-2 at the Dodgertown Classic last weekend.

The extra-inning loss proved to exemplify Michigan’s performance over the weekend. An impressive outing by the starting pitchers — all three gave up just two earned runs — and error-free defense kept the Wolverines in the games despite a struggling offense scoring two runs on Saturday and one run on Sunday, dropping two of three games to USC and Oklahoma State while beating No. 2 UCLA.

Michigan coach Erik Bakich is looking ahead to the Dodger Stadium Classic.

The team’s winning three-game series against California State University-Northridge was punctuated by a 5-2 loss Sunday afternoon. On Tuesday afternoon, the team lost again to Long Beach State 8-7. A planned matchup against UC-Irvine on Wednesday evening was cancelled due to rain.

Senior infielder Ako Thomas homered in the first at-bat of Michigan's series against Cal State-Northridge.

That changed on Friday when Thomas knocked one out of the park in the first at-bat of the seventeenth-ranked Wolverines’ three-game series against California State University-Northridge. Michigan won two out of the three games, beating the Matadors 2-0 on Friday and 4-2 in the first contest of a doubleheader on Sunday, but suffered their first loss of the season in the second game, falling to Northridge 5-2.

Senior infielder Blake Nelson committed five errors in two games against Binghamton, resulting in a benching.

Erik Bakich wants his team to play aggressively on defense, even if mistakes happen as a result.

Michigan catcher Joe Donovan had five RBI against The Citadel in two games, and also had standout defensive performances.

It was just one of many things that went right for the 17th-ranked Wolverines (6-0) as they swept the Bulldogs (2-4) this weekend, winning 2-0 on Friday, 9-1 on Saturday and 6-3 on Sunday. After this weekend, Michigan is one of seven teams in the top 25 that is still undefeated two weeks into the season.

Junior left-hander Tommy Henry struck out 13 batters and allowed only one hit against The Citadel on Friday.

Henry only threw 88 pitches in Friday’s 2-0 win over The Citadel, 61 of those strikes. He only faced the minimum of 27 batters, but struck out a career-high 13 batters. He couldn’t be touched, except for that one time.

Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich has made an effort to promote the legacy of former Michigan baseball coach Branch Rickey.

“There are so many outstanding players of color often hidden in poor communities who just aren’t able to play on those expensive travel teams or make their rounds on the summer circuit,” Bakich said. “So when you can find those guys and target those guys and have kids from all backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. … I think it’s a win not only for them and their families but also for our program and for everyone on our team, which is why we recruit the way we do.”