Joey Velazquez finishes his swing with his bat pointed up..
In Michigan baseball's series win over Ohio State, Joey Velazquez thrived. Anna Fuder/Daily.  Buy this photo.

It’s not often that a Columbus kid exerts his will on Ohio State in a maize jersey.

In the Michigan baseball team’s series win this past weekend, junior left-fielder Joey Velazquez did just that. In just nine at bats, he picked up four hits and tallied five RBIs in crucial spots for the Wolverines.

His first plate appearance of the season was against Maryland as a pinch hitter in a pivotal spot. Velazquez came through with a three-run homer off the foul pole to give the Wolverines a lead that never wavered.

“(Velazquez is) one of those kids that doesn’t really have an off switch,” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “ … He was able to jump right in there and he traveled with us on spring break when football was off and got a big pinch hit home run against Maryland to win the game. … So we know he’s got that clutch gene inside of him. He’s got a knack for it.”

Velazquez’s first start came on Friday, March 22 against his hometown Buckeyes. Again, he came through in the late innings with a single in the seventh and a key hit-by-pitch RBI in the one run victory.

On Sunday — despite batting ninth — Velazquez was the Wolverines’ most valuable batter. 

Down 1-0 in the fifth, he broke up the no hitter and put Michigan on the board with a two-RBI double smoked down the right field line. Ohio State tied it back up in the seventh, but Velazquez responded, giving the Wolverines the lead again with a single.

When facing big moments in the game, Velazquez doesn’t overthink things at the plate.

“I’m just going out there, trying to do my job, trying to do as much for the team and just battle and win every pitch,” Velazquez said. “Coach Bakich always says plus ones to try to get the extra pitch to get these guys to make a mistake and get a good swing on it.”

Michigan has experimented all season with its ninth man in the order. Although Velazquez has a small sample size of just 14 plate appearances, he has been by far the most efficient in that spot. Among those with just as many at bats, he leads the team in batting average, OPS, and OBP slashing an inhuman .429/.556/.786.

“I think he certainly solidified himself as an option for a viable platoon man, especially off right handed pitching,” Bakich said. “He has given us a spark and he’s gotten some big hits … I like his level of compete and obviously, he’s a great athlete.”

Velazquez looks like the missing piece in Michigan’s order. With more opportunities he could cement his place in the lineup and propel the offense from good to elite.