Flurries cascaded from the sky as junior outfielder Tito Flores stepped up to the plate for the second time in the inning. One strike away from ending the rally, he smacked the ball down the left field line. Junior outfielder Clark Elliott raced around third base, keeping his footing on the slippery diamond. Elliott made it across the plate to give the Michigan baseball team its 10th run of the third inning on Friday against Louisville.
The Wolverines had Jack Frost on their side as they took a 12-1 lead after the massive rally. Their highest scoring inning of the young season came off of a blizzard shocked Cardinals team who committed two errors and gave up five walks.
Despite cold fingers and treacherous base paths, Michigan players hit better in the snow than they did any part of the weekend.
“We thrive on that kind of stuff,” Elliott said. “You know that adversity just gets down to practicing every single day outside in the cold.”
Although its defense was not perfect in the storm, Michigan held much better than Louisville. Flores had a diving catch for the first out in the fourth on what would’ve been a routine fly ball in clear skies.
Just as the Cardinals tried to kick off a rally of their own with a three-run triple, graduate outfielder Joe Stewart had a diving catch of his own to end the inning. The umpires quickly suspended action due to safety. The Wolverines would clean up the game on Sunday, 16-7.
“I feel like we’re pretty accustomed to (the snow),” Logan Wood said. “…That’s kind of like our second nature whereas in these conditions, could be just like regular teams have to make a change to play differently, but we don’t have to.”
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, it did not snow all weekend. They dropped their first game 5-3 when the bats weren’t able to turn runners into scorers. Louisville stranded 16 of Michigan’s 18 runners and stifled the offense to start the series.
On Sunday, Michigan fared even worse.
The Wolverines were dominated in their worst loss of the season, 13-1, letting up a run in every inning except one. The bats and arms just never found a rhythm and got punished by a potent Cardinal offense.
“I don’t really necessarily think it was preparation in the cold,” coach Erik Bakich said. “I think we just were able to capitalize on some blocks and some errors and got some big hits. They were able to capitalize on some bloopers today and that just created a lot of pressure and they’ve got some big home runs late.
“So you know, I don’t know if the temperature had anything to do with it, but just two lopsided scores in game two, and game three.”
The coaches and players may disagree on the source of inconsistency, but whether it was causation or coincidence, the frigid results speak for themselves.