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The last time the Michigan baseball team looked competitive in a midweek game was the thriller against then-No. 4 Vanderbilt on March 15 when they lost by one run in the bottom of the ninth. Since then, the Wolverines have seemingly lost focus with blowout losses to Xavier, Oakland and now Wednesday’s game in their worst loss of the season.

Purdue Fort Wayne (5-22 overall) stunned Michigan (14-14), 6-3. The downward spiral has continued, and a complete lack of consistency resulted in another midweek loss to an inferior opponent.

“I think we’re fine. I think we’re fine,” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “We’re not going to panic. We’re not going to press. We’ve been pressing and that’s not working for us. The guys came out loose and they had a lot of energy and you know, sometimes the game gets hard … I thought they were loose. I thought they were having fun. I thought we hit the ball hard.”

Early on, it was apparent that despite the difference in records, the game was going to be a fight. Mastodon third baseman Jack Lang came out swinging with a bomb to deep left on just the fourth pitch of the game. In spite of the early blunder, the Wolverines quickly collected themselves and rebounded.

With two outs in the second, senior first baseman Jack Van Remortel punctuated a three-hit, two-run rally with an RBI double. After he made it home, Michigan took back the lead, 3-1.

But the Wolverines weren’t immune to giving up their own two out rallies. In the top of the fourth with men on first and second, graduate third baseman Matt Frey bobbled the inning-ending out and allowed the bases to become loaded. Freshman right-hander Jaker Keaser was subbed in to finish off the inning.

That didn’t help. Keaser gave up a three-RBI double on his first pitch, handing Purdue Fort Wayne a 5-3 lead that it never relinquished.

Michigan soon had its own two-out, bases loaded opportunity in the fifth. But it was unable to capitalize as junior outfielder Tito Flores popped up to right field and stranded the runners to maintain the deficit.

The Mastodons kept their foot on the gas and piled on another run in the sixth with two straight doubles. It looked like their run would continue in the seventh when graduate left-hander Angelo Smith was hit in the knee by a single and had to be quickly taken out for freshman Avery Goldensoph. With the bases loaded, two outs, and a full count, Goldensoph activated his clutch gene and caught the batter swinging to keep the Wolverines in the game.

Flores had another opportunity to make a comeback in the seventh. He was the tying run at the plate with two men on and two outs. Purdue Fort Wayne left-hander Justin Miller doled out three straight strikes to continue Michigan’s five-inning scoring drought.

The Wolverines were able to hold a shutout for the last three innings, but it wasn’t enough. At the end of the day, a team can’t expect to leave 18 men on base and still win. Michigan couldn’t finish off an inning, only scoring one of 12 runners in scoring position.

When asked about the Wolverines’ inconsistencies, Bakich interjected:

“No, no, we played pretty well tonight. Yeah, this was not an inconsistent game. I got 20 balls hit over 95 miles an hour. That was one of our better offensive nights.”

Bakich is still optimistic despite the fact that his team has transitioned from inconsistent into a cut and dry slump. But in order for Bakich’s words to represent what happens on the field, it could take a long, hard look in the mirror for the Wolverines. There is plenty of season left to be played, but after this recent slump, Michigan’s margin of error only shrinks.