Michigan looking ahead in final road contest before the home opener

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 8:01pm

Sophomore Ako Thomas in a game against Minnesota on April 8, 2016.

Sophomore Ako Thomas in a game against Minnesota on April 8, 2016. Buy this photo
Matt Vailliencourt/Daily

 

The Michigan baseball team (9-3) is fresh off a stellar spring break trip in California, but the Wolverines couldn’t care less. The only thing on their minds is their upcoming series against Lipscomb (8-4) this weekend. 

“Hank Aaron told us when he spoke to us, ‘What you did yesterday is only good for wrapping dead fish,’ ” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “Spring Break has nothing to do with today or the weekend moving forward. We’ve got to re-center, get back to training and busting our butts and working hard to allow us to have success moving forward.”

Michigan will kick off the three-game series Friday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn. Though the team may not be interested in what happened last week, it has surely garnered some national attention.

The Wolverines entered the D1baseball.com poll at No. 24 and the Collegiate Baseball News poll at No. 19. If Michigan continues with its impressive offense, these rankings will only improve.

After a hot start, redshirt sophomore outfielder Miles Lewis has not cooled down and has led the Wolverines with a .340 batting average, while three of his teammates are also batting above 300.

Sophomore infielder Ako Thomas follows closely behind Lewis with a .333 average, 17 hits and 10 RBIs. He’s also tied for fourth in the nation in stolen bases, in which Michigan also ranks first as a team, success that comes from a more aggressive style of play.

“We’re just as fast as we were last year,” said senior infielder Michael Brdar, who also already has seven steals this season. “It was (Thomas and my) first year, didn’t have all the confidence we do now. I think now when we run the bases we have more confidence and trust ourselves.”

The Wolverines may not have faced any similar opponents to the Bisons this season, but they know what to expect.

“Our coaches do a very good job at scouting,” Thomas said. “They’ll give us the scouting report on who we’re going to face: pitching, types of hitters they have, the kind of defense we’re going to be in and things like that. That usually helps prepare us most for teams we’ve never played before.”

Michigan’s junior left-hander Oliver Jaskie has established himself as the best on the mound for the Wolverines. He boasts a 2.25 earned-run average, 16 strikeouts and has only allowed 11 hits through 16 innings.

Lipscomb’s biggest threat on the mound is right-hander Dayton Tripp, but due to a rescheduled game against Tennessee Tech, Tripp pitched on Wednesday and is unlikely to see the field against the Wolverines.

The Bisons may be riding a high from a two-game win streak, most recently beating Tennessee Tech and Auburn, but if they’re anything like this Michigan team, they will only be looking ahead.