Ted Burton stepped up to bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning.
The junior second baseman obliterated the first pitch he saw, sending it to deep left center for a grand slam. Thanks to Burton, the Michigan baseball team’s offense started the game off in explosive fashion, and Burton would put on an eight-RBI clinic.
The Wolverines (10-8) defeated Dayton (8-8), 18-6, in the second game of the three game series. This victory saw the offense come back to life with a fistful of home runs and contributions from depth players after a pitcher’s duel dominated Thursday.
“Hitting is contagious,” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “When you see a guy that’s just on the barrel and hitting everything hard, it just seems to somehow carry over to other guys.”
Michigan hit the ground running full speed in the first inning. The first three men reached safely, then Burton stepped up to the plate.
He only needed one pitch to put the Wolverines up four — his first of four hits on the day.
“When you can do what we did in the first inning, I think that just kind of sets the tempo for the game,” Burton said
And Michigan kept that tempo up, as it was not yet done in the first.
Senior shortstop Riley Bertram walked, then sophomore first baseman Dylan Stanton and junior designated hitter Jake Marti also reached to reload the bases.
Next, junior right fielder Clark Elliott wasted little time hitting the ball right back up the middle, where it took a particularly nasty bounce off the second base bag and into left field, scoring two more to extend the Wolverines’ lead to six to end the first inning.
The offensive onslaught would continue in the second inning with a towering solo shot from junior catcher Jimmy Obertop over the brick wall in left field. And it came to life again in the fifth, scraping out two more runs thanks to some heads up baserunning.
The Flyers attempted to rally a response, knocking in one run in the third and a solo home run of their own in the fourth. But, Michigan would continue to blow them out of the water.
Burton crushed his second homer of the night in the sixth, and an RBI double in the seventh that came not more than a few feet short of becoming his third batted ball to make the trip over the fence.
These efforts, along with continued contribution from Marti and Bertram, put the Wolverines up 14-2.
Dayton once again started to rally in the eighth, loading the bases. But sophomore right-hander Ahmad Harajli managed to dig his way out with a trio of strikeouts.
Then Michigan put an exclamation point on its victory, slapping in another four runs, one of which came off yet another hit from Burton.
“We just always want to add on,” Burton said. “We play one inning and one pitch at a time.”
Those many insurance runs came in handy, as the Flyers put together a string of hits in the top of the ninth, pulling their tally to six runs. However, sophomore right-hander Ryan Zimmerman was able to pull himself out of the inning before the monstrous Wolverines’ lead could be overcome.
In the end, Michigan’s offensive performance — complimented by a solid six-inning outing from junior right-hander Noah Rennard — allowed it to cruise to its second victory of the weekend, and clinch the series.