The Michigan baseball team had its second ninth-inning lead in as many days, and once again junior right-hander Cameron Weston was on the mound. The seven run lead for the Wolverines was a significant cushion, but it was one he wouldn’t need. As Weston dealt to the Maryland offense — who in previous matchups powered over Michigan pitching — with ease, delivering a trio of strikeouts, sealing the victory for his team.
The Wolverines (30-25 overall, 13-12 Big Ten) upset the tournament’s top seed, Maryland (45-11, 18-5), in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, 15-8. They kept the pressure turned up in an offensively-loaded winners-bracket bout.
Michigan came out the gate strong.
In the top of the first, left-hander Jacob Denner went 1-2-3, then graduate third baseman Matt Frey got the Wolverines on the board with an RBI double following a lead-off walk from junior right fielder Clark Elliott.
Then in the third, after Maryland had pulled ahead 2-1, Michigan continued to apply pressure and got something cooking.
Elliott and graduate center fielder Joe Stewart both walked, working the pitcher and pressuring the Terrapins to buckle down. After Elliot stole second, a failed pickoff attempt allowed him to motor all the way to third. Frey poked a ball into the outfield for another RBI and yet another muffed throw by the Terrapins allowed a third run to score and kept the inning going.
In the fifth, the Wolverines rallied once again scoring five runs — ratcheting up the pressure even further.
But, unlike the defense, the stalwart Maryland offense put up a fight. It took the battle right back to Michigan, scoring runs of its own in the fourth and fifth, pulling the score tighter to 10-7.
But then, the Terrapin offense began to cool off, and the game became a slower-paced struggle for it as the Wolverines pulled ahead.
As Maryland tried to gain any sort of momentum, Michigan did its part to prevent that. When the Terrapin pitching put up a zero, the Wolverines’ pitcher did the same. When Maryland hit a solo shot to gain some ground, junior designated hitter Tito Flores hit one right back. And then they built upon that with another home run, this time from Elliott, and another run off a wild pitch. By the end of the seventh, Michigan had pulled away to a 15-8 lead.
And that lead would hold.
Weston cruised the rest of the game, knocking the tournament favorites into the loser’s bracket in a huge upset.