The Michigan baseball team’s performance over its past four games proved just how volatile the game of baseball is.

The Wolverines’ weekend in California displayed solid pitching, a few homers and flashes of brilliance on defense. But an inability to execute consistently resulted in Michigan (6-2) splitting its matchups with two wins in four games.

After continuing momentum with a 5-1 win over St. Joseph’s on Friday in Santa Clara, Calif., Michigan dropped its next two games at Cal Poly, 5-1, and Santa Clara, 5-3, on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The two losses seemed to be a reality check for the Wolverines, but that notion quickly faded as they overwhelmed No. 10 California in Berkeley, Calif., on their way to 5-0 victory Monday night. Michigan wraps up its trip with a road game at San Jose State on Wednesday and a three-game series at UC Davis over the weekend as it continues the early part of a long season.

“I don’t think any one or two games are any indication of what the team is,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “You can’t encapsulate an entire team or an entire season in two games.

“Baseball season is long. You don’t have long peaks and short valleys. Everybody has their ups and downs, but you don’t characterize the team.”

In Friday’s contest against the Hawks (3-1), sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Nutof boasted another dominant performance, tossing five innings and allowing no runs and just three hits. The Wolverines jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the fourth inning thanks to a solo shot by junior infielder Carmen Benedetti.

A two-run double in the sixth inning by sophomore infielder Drew Lugbauer widened the lead for the Wolverines, now up 3-0. Heading into the ninth, the power surge continued for Michigan as junior catcher Harrison Wenson hit his second homer of the year, a two-run blast to right field.

Saturday’s matchup against Cal Poly (6-2) told an entirely different story. After riding a five-game win streak, Mustangs right-hander Cam Schneider completely shut down the Wolverines, giving up just three hits and blanking Michigan on the scoreboard in five innings of work.

Junior southpaw Brett Adcock pitched 3.1 innings and did not allow a hit, but still suffered his and Michigan’s first loss of the season. The Wolverines’ lone run came off of throwing error in the ninth inning.

“We didn’t have our best day,” Bakich said. “We gave away free bases and were on defense for a lot of time.”

Santa Clara (5-3) posed a similar challenge for Michigan. Already up 1-0, the Broncos rallied for three runs off of senior lefty Evan Hill in the third inning to take an early 4-0 advantage.

The Wolverines put up a fight due to the bat of Wenson. Wenson homered to left field in the fourth inning to put Michigan on the board, and followed it up with a two-run single in the sixth.

Santa Clara wasted no time to halt the momentum in the sixth after a passed ball allowed an unearned run to cross the plate. Up 5-3, the Broncos allowed just two Wolverines on base in the final three innings.

“We had scoring opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of,” Bakich said. “We were out of rhythm those two days. The thing that we hope to be is consistent. That’s where we lacked Saturday and Sunday.”

On a two-game losing streak, a top-10 California team did not seem like the most suitable opponent to break the slump. Nonetheless, Michigan found its rhythm again with sophomore left-hander Oliver Jaskie on the bump. After winning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for his outing against Canisius last week, Jaskie posted similar numbers versus the Golden Bears (5-3), throwing 5.1 innings of three-hit, scoreless baseball.

Freshman designated hitter Jonathan Engelmann had his first career RBI with a single in the second inning. Senior outfielder Matt Ramsay also drove in his first run of the season with a third-inning single.

Despite the victory against a top-ranked opponent, Wenson and Bakich were quick to note it was not more special than any of their previous wins.

“California is just another opponent,” Wenson said. “We just have to play our game and listen to our coaches, and things will be allright. We pitched well, the defense played well and we got the win.”

Added Bakich: “What I care about, and what I was proud of, was the way our guys responded. The way this team got knocked down twice in a row and got right back up and played a certain level of baseball to a standard that we talk about is really all that matters.”

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