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In his first three appearances since transitioning into the Michigan baseball team’s full-time Sunday starter, sophomore right-hander Chase Allen looked electric — giving up just three earned runs in 19.1 innings. With the fate of the series against Indiana still up in the air heading into Sunday’s game, the Wolverines expected more of the same.

Instead, they received a shock: a near-total collapse from their newfound starter, one that ultimately led to a 10-8 defeat at the hands of the Hoosiers.

“They made every base runner count today,” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “They got baserunners in more ways than just giving up hits, but when they got hits, they were big hits in big spots.” 

As Allen let in six runs in six innings, all of which earned, he set a personal season-high and saw his earned run average jump from 3.24 to 3.85. 

While extra-base hits played a significant role in the day’s result, Allen’s control of his pitches made the most visceral impact. Most notable stood his three hit batters, which tied a season-high for any pitcher on the roster.

All three batters would end up reaching home plate in the contest, two of which came in the fifth inning alone. After Allen plunked back-to-back batters, Indiana left fielder Carter Mathison blasted a ball over the right-center wall, turning a 4-2 Michigan lead into a 5-4 deficit.

“All the mistakes he made ended up costing him,” Bakich said. “At one point he had five runs on two hits. They made him pay for his mistakes with big blasts.”

Allen’s performance on Sunday capped a weekend series that saw less than stellar outings from all three of the Wolverines’ weekend starters — an unusual occurrence for a group that as of recent has consistently set the table despite an inconsistent bullpen to back them. 

On Friday, the Hoosiers took sophomore left-hander Connor O’Halloran deep for three home runs and an RBI double. On Saturday, junior right-hander Cameron Weston allowed eight hits in just 5.1 innings of work, giving up three runs.

With the difference between being in and out of the Big Ten Tournament sitting at just two games, Michigan needed a series win — and in turn, a strong performance from its starting pitchers. 

Instead, they walk away with more questions than answers for yet another weekend.

“The biggest thing we need to do is just play — just play better,” Bakich said. “If we’re gonna be a team that has any chance of playing to our potential, then the execution behind the lines needs to be better. There’s just no way to sugarcoat that.”

After clinging to their weekend starters thus far, the Wolverines now find themselves precariously closer to a nightmare end of the season. A slump from Allen, O’Halloran and Weston could be the last straw for any hopes of a postseason run.