Michigan beaten in wild, extra-inning game
Much like the first game in the series, it was an error that decided the winner of Michigan’s Super Regional matchup with No. 1 UCLA. Only this time, the Wolverines made the mistakes.
There were five errors on Saturday for Michigan, each one giving the Bruins a chance, but each time the Wolverines would escape. Finally, Michigan couldn’t come up with some miraculous play to fix its mistake and they lost in the 12th inning, 5-4.
Unlike the first game of the series, the second started with a bang. Each team scored in the first inning, moving a single runner around the bases and in for a run. The Wolverines’ sophomore designated hitter Jordan Nwogu scored their run in the bottom of the inning off of a leadoff double and two groundouts.
The very next inning Michigan sophomore catcher Joe Donovan sent a moonshot over the left field fence and captured a 3-1 lead.
But for as quickly as the starting pitchers gave up runs in the first two innings, they both clamped down and the game would see no more runs until the sixth.
Criswell flirted with danger from the first inning until his last, putting a runner on base in five of six innings. He narrowly escaped a bases loaded jam in the fifth inning, thanks to a sliding catch from junior right fielder Jordan Brewer and an infield fly out.
But in the sixth, he succumbed to the danger. Walking Michael Toglia for the second time to lead off the inning, Criswell subsequently balked and threw a passed ball to move the runner over to third with no outs.
Criswell had a glimmer of hope as he induced a shallow fly ball, keeping Toglia on third. That hope was quickly dashed by a single to left field, though, to make it a one run game in favor of Michigan. Criswell walked the next batter and was pulled in favor of freshman right-hander Isaiah Paige.
Paige escaped the inning with two outfield flyouts, keeping the lead — at least temporarily. He would retire five straight until facing off against Toglia, who launched an opposite field home run to tie the game in the eighth inning at 3-3.
The game would stay that way until the next inning, when after two outs junior right-hander Jack Weisenburger walked Ryan Kreidler, who promptly stole second base. On the next pitch, Chase Strumpf launched a routine fly ball to junior outfielder Christian Bullock, who dropped it. UCLA led 4-3 with three outs left for Michigan to respond.
The Wolverines put a runners on first and third with one out as up came sophomore shortstop Jack Blomgren, who launched a sacrifice fly to tie the game at four a piece.
But again, errors came to haunt them. First, Thomas threw a ball high to put a runner on base. Senior third baseman Blake Nelson then missed an easy double play throw, followed by Brewer fumbling the ball as he tracked down Nelson's error. An intentional walk loaded the bases, and suddenly, everything looked bleak for Michigan.
But the Wolverines somehow escaped again.
A groundball was laced to Nelson, who snagged it and tagged out the runner at third before getting a force out as well for a rather abnormal double play.
At some point, though, Michigan was bound to crack. In the 12th inning, the Wolverines had yet another fielding error, this time from freshman left-hander Walker Cleveland that put a runner on first. The Bruins then fired long double to right field and Michigan's throw to home plate was late. UCLA led 5-4.
And this time, there was no answer from the Wolverines.