After a long night’s rest in the middle of the game, the Michigan baseball team had to close out the last three innings of its Saturday matchup against Manhattan on Sunday.
The two day-affair was a continuation of Friday’s offensive explosion, with a final score of 16-7 after it was suspended in the middle of the sixth inning over fears of a shooting on Central Campus.
Stuck with a close, 8-7 lead over the Jaspers (4-13) upon the resumption of the game, everything was on the line, and nothing was certain.
“With the game being postponed (Saturday),” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich, “there could have been a lot of excuses to point to of why maybe we didn’t play well here or there, but we thought our guys did a great job.”
The delay didn’t affect the Wolverines (13-4) at all, however. As soon as the game resumed senior outfielder Miles Lewis hit a single on the second pitch. The next hitter, junior designated hitter Dominic Clementi, brought in outfielder Jesse Franklin to extend the lead, 9-7.
“The resumption game was very much in question when we started at noon,” said Bakich. “For us to score nine unanswered runs in the final three at-bats was significant. It just kept the momentum on our side.”
That momentum led to a big six-run bottom of the eighth inning. Putting a victory out of the question for Manhattan, Michigan’s offense exploded. The most memorable part may have been a rocket from Franklin that left the bat at 106 miles per hour and traveled 400 feet.
Prior to the delay, junior infielder Jordan Brewer had his second grand slam of the series in the bottom of the fourth inning as he launched a two-out bomb over left-center field. The previous inning, Brewer had tied the game with a run batted-in single.
Every starter had a hit, and the team hit at a .452 clip over the entirety of the game.
All that scoring for both teams didn’t mean there was a lack of defense. In the top of the seventh, freshman right-hander Willie Weiss threw a nasty curveball that the Jaspers’ Matt Padre lined straight back to the pitcher. Weiss coolly reached out his bare right hand to snag the slow-moving ball to get the first out of the inning.
Weiss ended up with the three-inning save, and junior left-hander Ben Keizer snagged a win after getting only one out and throwing two pitches. Sophomore right-hander Jeff Criswell, meanwhile, had four runs scored against him on four strikeouts.
The top of the sixth inning proved to be the only defensive blemish for Michigan. Sophomore left-hander Angelo Smith got two quick outs, and then after an error by Brewer, there were three unearned runs.
No matter the defensive weaknesses from the Wolverines, though, their offense always proved to have an answer in an incredibly-productive day.