For a team that’s strength through the early season was its pitching and defense, Michigan showed its offensive prowess in this past weekend’s series over Manhattan. Its 48 runs offered quite an introduction.
Sophomore outfielder Jesse Franklin launched a 106 mile per hour rocket to right-center field that went 400 feet in the blink of an eye.
Junior infielder Jordan Brewer also had three home runs over the weekend, two of which were grand slams. Brewer ended the weekend with 12 runs batted in, nearly doubling his total on the season.
“(It was like) beach balls. I felt good repetition after repetition work with the team finally came through,” Brewer said. “Amazing team, we’re ready to rock and excited for the year. I’m really excited to see what this team has.”
Senior infielder Blake Nelson stepped up in a big way after sparse playing time over the last few weeks. With seven hits — five of which were doubles — and five RBIs, he established himself as an important offensive part of the lineup.
“We saw that this weekend, he’s going to be a hard guy to keep out of the lineup,” Bakich said. “I really like what Blake brings from an energy standpoint, and offensively he just brings a knack for quality at-bats and making hard contacts. He delivered some clutch hits, especially in the second game (Sunday). That two-RBI double in the fourth was a big hit and we certainly needed it at the time.”
“It starts with our team,” added Nelson. “We’re all bought in for win. Whether that’s warming up with the outfielders, doing the chart or playing in the game. It doesn’t really matter, we all know our roles and we’re all ready to come in when our number is called.”
Back on their home field, the Wolverines’ offense changed completely. Instead of relying on aggressive baserunning and stolen bases to squeeze in a run, the power in its lineup dominated.
It was a stark contrast over Michigan’s last week of baseball when its offense struggled to back up its impressive pitching with any support.
“I am 100 percent confident that our offense is going to start surging here,” Bakich said. “Especially now that we’re coming home and going to have some normalcy to our schedule.”
Bakich was right, as Brewer and Nelson weren’t the only players to excel — the team as a whole showed up. The Wolverines had 10 doubles, four home runs and one triple over the weekend series, including scoring 18 of their runs with two outs.
“(We) ran the bases well, got a lot of extra 90s, a lot of two out RBIs, especially yesterday and today,” Bakich said. “Just some good clutch hitting, some big innings, just a lot of good baseball that was being played.”