Catch a wave: baseball looks to capitalize in California

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 6:21pm

The baseball team will head to California for spring break.

The baseball team will head to California for spring break. Buy this photo
Carter Fox/Daily

While the students of the University of Michigan head off to rest their weary brains during Spring Break, the No. 17 Michigan baseball team (6-0) is going to work in sunny California.

“That sounds like baseball heaven to me,” said head coach Erik Bakich. “Eight games in ten days, we are fired up for that.”

On this trip, the Wolverines will face four teams currently with a winning record in addition to a talented Southern California team looking to prove itself.

Michigan kicks off its Spring Break on Friday with a three-game series against Cal State-Northridge (5-4), which is coming off a 4-3 loss to No. 3 UCLA — a game in which they gave up a one-run lead in the seventh inning. Looking to avenge the loss, the Matadors will be eager to take down a ranked Michigan team trying to extend its unbeaten run as long as possible.

After Cal State-Northridge, the Wolverines will enjoy a day off before playing Long Beach State and University of California-Irvine on back-to-back days where the real test starts for its pitchers. Star juniors left-hander Tommy Henry and right-hander Karl Kauffmann will have to keep the heat on after just four days of rest.

The Dirtbags, currently 0-7, will try to improve on a poor start to the season, but they will be coming off one day of rest from their series at Ole Miss.

The Anteaters, conversely, will be coming off of five days of rest and eager to play their first ranked team of the season.

What Michigan is looking forward to most comes on the final weekend of Spring Break, when it will be playing against No. 19 Oklahoma State inside of Dodgers Stadium.

“I’m really excited about the Dodgertown classic and to get the opportunity to play in Dodgers Stadium,” said Bakich. “Just hearing from the guys that are on the team in 2017, it was one of those life memories that you make, getting to play in Dodgers Stadium. So I’m excited for the kids that they get to experience that and play in Dodgers Stadium.”

Over the three-game stretch the Wolverines will play the Bruins and Trojans at their home fields before the finale against the Cowboys. The toughest stretch of games for Michigan in the early season, these three matchups will prove how good the undefeated Wolverines really are before they come back to play in Ann Arbor for the first time all season.

Bakich, though, is not looking past the early week matchups.

“Everyone that we play out on the West Coast are perennial powers, from Cal State-Northridge to Long Beach to Irvine to UCLA, USC, Oklahoma State,” Bakich said. “From that standpoint we’re going to be really tested in those eight games over the 10-day period.”