The pitching duel.
A classic staple of baseball that the Michigan baseball team has not experienced too many times this season. But on Saturday the Wolverines were lucky enough to have sophomore left-hander Connor O’Halloran, who has shown twice now he can handle the pressure.
Michigan (14-12 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) edged out Iowa (13-10. 1-1), 2-0, in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader. That final score was the lowest scoring game the Wolverines have played this season.
O’Halloran dealt all game, notching eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings of work. He stifled the Hawkeye offense, walking just two batters and allowing only one extra-base hit.
That marks his second dominant home start of the season, also making it through eight innings against Dayton while only allowing one run.
Game two was a slow burn. The Wolverines got on the board early, stringing together some quality small-ball at bats to get junior catcher Jimmy Obertop home on a groundout from senior shortstop Riley Bertram.
But after that, both offenses went silent.
Iowa managed to put runners on base on a couple different occasions, but O’Halloran never let them cross home.
O’Halloran continued to cruise, following his lone support run up with a one-two-three third inning which included two of his eight strikeouts.
Then, after five scoreless innings, junior Noah Rennard picked up right where O’Halloran left off, shutting down the Iowa offense for another inning.
Also in the eighth, sophomore second baseman Brandon Lawrence collected his first hit of the season, a home run cranked over the right-field wall to give Michigan an insurance run.
Rennard went back out to open the ninth inning. But after giving up a leadoff double, Bakich decided to save the arm of his top reliever, and sophomore right-hander Chase Allen was the Wolverine who would get the chance to close it out.
He did so decisively, getting three straight outs for the win, splitting the day with the Hawkeyes.