On the road again.
After a single home game against Bowling Green on Wednesday, the Michigan baseball team (3-10) will take to the road again for a three-game weekend in Kansas. So far, Michigan has played 12 of its first 13 games away from The Fish.
After winning their home opener on the strength of a dramatic 4-3 finish, the Wolverines head south again to warmer weather and a more hostile environment. With Big Ten play just a week away, Michigan hopes to use this weekend’s games to get ready for the conference schedule.
“We’re trying to get ready for the Big Ten season,” interim coach Chris Harrison said. “That’s where our season becomes important to us, and the most important games are the Big Ten.”
One thing the Wolverines will have to do this weekend to prepare for the conference season is to cut back on the mental errors that have plagued them so far this season. Against Bowling Green, poor baserunning almost cost Michigan its chance to win the game.
“We made some baserunning mistakes that we have to eliminate,” Harrison said. “We ran ourselves out of some innings.”
This weekend is important because the Wolverines know they cannot afford to make mistakes when the conference season rolls around.
“In Big Ten games, because of the weather and the overall conditions -especially early in the season – a lot of times it comes down to the small things (like) baserunning, pitching and how you execute offensively,” Harrison said.
The team will play every day this weekend, just like in the Big Ten, but the format is slightly different. In the Big Ten, the team plays one game on Friday and Sunday with a doubleheader on Saturday. Michigan will play just one game per day this weekend, which means that unlike in the conference schedule when the team utilizes all four of its starting pitchers it will only start three this weekend. Bobby Korecky, Rich Hill and Jim Brauer are the probable starters, in that order.
Another difference between this weekend and the Big Ten is that Michigan will face two different opponents. The Wolverines will play Kansas today and Sunday and will face Oral Roberts tomorrow.
Harrison played for Oral Roberts from 1978-1982 and played in the 1978 College World Series with the Golden Eagles. Harrison faced Oral Roberts twice as an assistant coach at Michigan, and both games ended up as wins for the Wolverines. This will be his first shot at his alma mater as a head coach, but Harrison does not want to call any attention to the game.
“We’ve actually played them twice since I’ve been at Michigan,” Harrison said. “It will be just like another game.”