- Paul Sherman/Daily
BY ALEX TAYLOR
Daily Sports Writer
Published February 21, 2013
Playing outside for one of the first times of the year, in a different time zone, with a new coaching staff, the Michigan baseball team didn’t start the season as they hoped. Despite all these facts, Michigan coach Erik Bakich refused to claim moral victories.
Over the past weekend, Michigan (0-3) lost all three games of its weekend series against California (3-0) in walk-off fashion. Two of these losses occurred in extra innings with the other coming in the bottom of the ninth. Though there were no moral victories, the Wolverines had several positives to take away from their opening series.
“For us to come out of the chute with three one-run games and two extra-inning games, that’s only going to help us moving forward,” Bakich said. “Although we didn’t come up on top, we got to experience the atmosphere when the game is on the line, when every pitch, every swing, every play counts.”
Michigan committed just two errors in three games and got quality starts out of its two pitchers, sophomore James Bourque and freshman Evan Hill. Offensively, junior outfielder Michael O’Neill led the Wolverines and started the season hitting at a torrid pace, going 6-of-13 with three doubles.
Another force at the plate was senior outfielder Patrick Biondi, who picked up right where he left off last year, going 4-for-9 with two doubles and three walks in the series.
“I thought we did a lot of the little things that are going to help us in the long run pretty well,” Biondi said. “It’s just a matter of driving in more runs and making the most of the opportunities we have.”
Though the Wolverines can point to several bright spots in their opening series, they didn’t achieve their ultimate goal of winning the weekend.
Luckily for Michigan, though, it will get another opportunity to garner its first victory as it travels to Florida this weekend. The Wolverines will play a three-game series against Fordham on Friday and Saturday before playing an exhibition against the New York Mets on Sunday.
“It’s always fun when we can play the Mets,” Biondi said. “We appreciate the opportunity and are looking forward to a good weekend of baseball.”
The slow start to their season has not dampened expectations for the Wolverines this upcoming weekend.
“I expect we play better than last weekend,” Bakich said. “I expect that our program and team is going to be better. We expect to win, just like we expected to win on opening weekend.”
Michigan will continue to field a very young roster with six underclassmen in the starting lineup, a fact not lost on the coaching staff.
“We are going to continue to get better,” Bakich said. “We have some inexperience out there and the more our team plays, the better we’ll get.”
For Bakich and the rest of the Wolverines, though, the emphasis for this upcoming weekend will be getting victories — the real kind, not the moral ones.