It was just a slight movement.
It started from the heel, just a slight raise, before the hips and hands fired through and sent the baseball rocketing into right field. Fifth-year senior outfielder Christan Bullock used a no-stride, two-strike approach to rip an RBI single into right field in Sunday’s win over Purdue as part of the Michigan baseball team’s four-game sweep of the Boilermakers.
But Bullock wasn’t finished. He took second base on an overthrow into the infield and ended up scoring the go-ahead run on a single by sophomore fielder Jake Marti two batters later. This sequence acted as a microcosm of the series, as the Wolverines’ aggressive approach, headlined by Bullock, put pressure on the Boilermakers and led to an explosive offensive output. In addition to the aggressive approach Michigan employed, timely hits also helped the Wolverines distance themselves from Purdue.
“We had some great at-bats with two outs,” Bullock said. “We have the perfect mindset for the games.”
Michigan stole four bases on the weekend, with two by Bullock, including a double steal that allowed junior infielder Riley Bertram to score from third. Bullock also legged out a triple and stretched what appeared to be a routine single into a double in the third game of the series.
“It feels good to see everyone executing, from our pitchers, to our hitters, our fielders,” Bullock said. “But we’re always working on something and we’re definitely going to get back in the lab.”
From little adjustments like Bullock’s two-strike approach to aggressive baserunning, the Wolverines put a great deal of pressure on the Boilermakers, overwhelming their pitchers with their approach at the dish.
The Wolverines also utilized great two-out hitting to stifle Purdue. Michigan scored 17 of its 33 runs with two outs, capitalizing on the Boilermaker’s mistakes and executing when it mattered the most. Sophomore catcher Jimmy Obertop showcased the Wolverines’ offensive prowess with two outs this weekend, as he launched a two-out grand slam in the first inning of the third game of the series, giving Michigan a lead it would never relinquish.
“The clutch hitting stood out for me,” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “We had the timely hitting throughout the weekend.”
Staying aggressive and executing was what got the job done for the Wolverines this weekend. With its roster locked in and playing sharp, Michigan can use its mentality and focus to bring continued success.
“I don’t even think we can call each other a team; we’re a family,” Bullock said. “We’re all bonded together, we’re all brothers and we all want to see each other succeed.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown challenges at all of us — including The Michigan Daily — but that hasn’t stopped our staff. We’re committed to reporting on the issues that matter most to the community where we live, learn and work. Your donations keep our journalism free and independent. You can support our work here.
For a weekly roundup of the best stories from The Michigan Daily, sign up for our newsletter here.