The No. 23 Michigan baseball team defeated Manhattan (4-13), 4-0, on Sunday behind a dominant showing from its pitching staff and a strong performance from its offense.
After sophomore center fielder Jesse Franklin and junior first baseman Jordan Brewer walked to kick off the bottom of the fourth inning, Michigan was able to put four runs on the board. After senior right-fielder Miles Lewis reached on a bunt to load the bases, Franklin and Brewer scored on a double from senior second baseman Blake Nelson. Senior third baseman Jimmy Kerr brought Lewis home on a sacrifice fly, and Nelson scored as sophomore shortstop Jack Blomgren was caught trying to squeeze a single into a double.
The Wolverines (14-4) were wearing throwback uniforms honoring the 1962 College World Series winning team, and they appeared to channel some of that energy.
“A lot of those guys (from the 1962 team) are still active within our program, and they’re great role models for us, and great mentors for us in how they’ve represented the block ‘M,’” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “We want to emulate their success. Those are special teams, and our guys were fired up to wear their uniform.”
The Wolverines looked to build off the momentum from their big fourth inning when they came back up in the bottom of the fifth. Redshirt sophomore catcher Harrison Salter singled for his first hit of the season and sophomore left fielder Jordan Nwogu followed him with another single to put two runners on the bases with nobody out.
Michigan was unable to capitalize, though, as Franklin flied out, Brewer struck out and Lewis flied out to end the inning and strand the runners.
The Wolverines’ defense was solid throughout the contest. Blomgren had an error to put on a runner on base in the top of the second inning, but Kerr made a tight throw to send the runner back to the dugout and end the inning on a fielder’s choice. And in the top of the third, the Wolverines got two outs on a 4-6-3 double play from Nelson to Brewer.
The two teams were locked in a pitchers’ duel between Michigan right-hander Isaiah Paige, a redshirt freshman, and Jaspers right-hander T.J. Stuart for much of the beginning of the contest. The game was scoreless through the bottom of the fourth inning, and neither team advanced a runner past second base until then. In a game that was low-scoring in comparison to others in the series, pitching was what lifted the Wolverines past the Jaspers for the sweep.
“Isaiah Page gave us a good five innings, and that’s exactly what we needed,” Bakich said. “All of our starters were on shorter pitch counts because they were pitching on one day less rest, so we needed some clutch performances from the bullpen, and he did a really nice job there.”