Baseball extends winning streak to six against Notre Dame

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By Shannon Lynch, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 9, 2013

Recently, the Wolverines have been pumping out wins and championships in all corners of their athletic department – softball, swimming and diving, gymnastics and basketball, just to name a few.

Tuesday night, the Michigan baseball team kept pace. The Wolverines (4-2 Big Ten, 17-14 overall) battled the No. 18 Notre Dame in South Bend and earned a 4-1 victory, extending their winning streak to six. Michigan hasn’t had this many victories in succession since 2010.

“We’re just trying to contribute in a positive way,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “We’re just happy to be a part of the bigger picture because there’s not a better time to be associated with Michigan athletics than right now.”

Sophomore right-hander James Bourque earned the win for Michigan, striking out four in 5.1 innings. Fellow sophomore right-hander Matt Ogden also struck out four and picked up the save, allowing only one hit in 3.2 frames.

“We were pitching to contact,” Ogden said. “We had aggressive hitters who swing right up to bat, and we just let them get themselves out pretty much.”

Increasingly, Bakich has been able to rely on the pitching staff, a change from years past.

“Our pitchers have a lot of confidence right now,” Bakich said. “They’ve really done a nice job buying into pitching with quick tempo and forcing contact. Letting our defense work.”

Pitching to contact wasn’t the only thing this team came to South Bend prepared to do. A number of well-timed hits also gave Michigan the edge over Notre Dame.

Michigan catcher Cole Martin got the offense running in the third with a double, then headed to third base on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a wild pitch. The Wolverines added a pair of runs in the fourth when freshman third baseman Jacob Cronenworth scored off a double from junior right fielder Michael O’Neill. He then followed Cronenworth home on a double from sophomore designated hitter Kevin White.

Bourque held off the Fighting Irish until the bottom of the sixth, allowing one run before Bakich called in Ogden, who struck out two and quickly ended the inning. After loading the bases with no outs in the seventh, Michigan responded with a run of its own.

O’Neill, who is batting .353, was one of four Wolverine batters to pick up two hits in the game. O’Neill and White both had one RBI and a run each in four at-bats.

This Michigan team, like so many others, is currently on a roll. The winning has been contagious.

“I believe we have momentum on our side,” Ogden said. “It’s a little unexplainable, so we’re going to roll with it, keep doing what we do, keep the good mojo going, and look forward to the next game.”