Michigan's pitchers let Iowa take an insurmountable lead. Becca Mahon/Daily.  Buy this photo.

The Michigan baseball team’s pitching has struggled all year.

Just as the Wolverines seemed to finally find some form of consistency in the past couple weeks, all of their momentum was halted. Whenever a pitcher not named Connor O’Halloran was on the mound, the defense returned to its old ways.

On Sunday, Michigan (14-13 overall, 3-3 Big Ten) dropped its third game of the series against Iowa (14-10, 2-1), 10-3, to lose the series, 2-1. The Wolverines were steamrolled in every aspect of the game, but the season’s theme of struggling defense prevailed.

“We’re too hot and cold, or we’re too good and bad,” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “And that’s just not what championship teams do. Championship teams are consistent, and for us to even think of ourselves as a championship team first, we just need to be more consistent in how we play, and that starts with myself and the coaches.”

Unlike the shutout in the second game on Saturday, the Hawkeyes broke Sunday’s game open immediately. An RBI double from their statistically best hitter, first baseman Peyton Williams, gave them a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

In each of Michigan’s six home games this season, the team that scored first went on to win. It tried to break this trend to no avail.

In the fourth inning, Iowa continued to punish the Wolverines’ pitching inconsistencies with a solo home run followed by a double. Still, Michigan managed to avoid a total collapse after fifth-year outfielder Joe Stewart threw out a greedy runner trying to advance home from second. 

Junior left-hander Jacob Denner struggled again in the fourth. A double and a triple that pushed the deficit to three was the last straw before he was pulled.

Despite the pitching change, the Hawkeyes found themselves in another position to score. Facing one out with two men on, they earned an infield single to load the bases. Again, though, the defense stopped the bleeding with a double play to end the inning.

They were not so lucky in the sixth. Sophomore right-hander Chase Allen had Iowa utility player and right-hander Keaton Anthony down to the last strike of the inning with two runners on. He bombed the next pitch deep over the left field wall for the Hawkeyes’ second homer of the game.

Michigan’s turmoil only got worse in the eighth. The bullpen loaded the bases and forced in two runs via walk and hit-by-pitch to stretch the deficit to 10-0.

Although they showed some life late in the game, the Wolverines’ bats didn’t do them any favors throughout the affair. They only scored three, totaling 16 strikeouts against only seven hits.

“We’ll continue to have a very consistent detailed plan in our training and our preparation,” Bakich said. “But we clearly need to step it up and figure out a way to help these guys execute better, because we’re falling way short right now of what the standard of Michigan baseball is.”

Sunday’s loss marked a low point for a struggling Michigan team. Nothing was in sync, and Iowa dominated in every facet of the game. The Wolverines must take a deep look at what kind of team they want to be. If this quality of baseball continues, this year could become a failure.