With classes ending, papers to write and finals to take,
it’s definitely a stressful time of year. Now, imagine
throwing three baseball games into the mix, including a weekend
series with a big-time rival. That’s this week for the
Michigan baseball team.
Today, Michigan (7-5 Big Ten, 18-14 overall) hosts Cleveland
State in a game that is sandwiched between last weekend’s
Illinois series and this weekend’s four-game series against
“There is no doubt that all of us are looking forward to
Ohio State, and that is a tough thing to deal with it,”
Michigan coach Rich Maloney said.
It may be difficult for the Wolverines to focus on the Vikings
(5-3 Horizon, 7-17 overall), but they also know that they have to
concentrate to get a win before the big series against Ohio State
this weekend. A win would give the Wolverines back some of the
momentum they lost when they dropped two close games over the
weekend against Illinois.
“We have to focus on the team at hand and take care of
business,” Maloney said. “On paper, we may win. But the
great thing about this game is that anything can happen.”
Aside from the games, the players have their minds on the many
exams and papers being thrown their way.
“We are getting ready for exams and the big series,”
Maloney said. “It’s a big week for the players as
students and as athletes, so we can understand the difficulties
they have to go through to be prepared.”
While Michigan may have a lot to think about, Maloney feels that
the situation is good for his team. Maloney believes that it is
important for the team to learn to focus on every game, not just
the big ones. Today’s game will be a good test of that.
But Maloney does not spend as much time preparing for the
opponent as he does on his own team. In fact, he has barely
analyzed Cleveland State.
“I don’t dwell on the scouting report for other
teams,” Maloney said. “I look at them and review them,
but I do not pay a huge amount of attention to them.”
Maloney believes that it is more important for him to
concentrate on his team and what his players have to do to be in
One part of the team that Maloney and the rest of the coaching
staff have spent a lot of time on recently is the pitching staff,
which has been inconsistent as a whole the entire season.
“If the pitching settles down, we are going to be a tough
opponent,” Maloney said.
Today could be a tough day to stabilize though, because a number
of pitchers will make appearances. Michigan does not have a midweek
starter like many other teams.
Paul Hammond and Mike McCormick are both scheduled to take the
mound for the Wolverines. Each player is scheduled to throw a
couple of innings.
Michigan hopes that the pitchers who make an appearance today
can have the combined effect of a solid effort from one
“We are throwing so many pitchers, we don’t know
what we are going to get,” Maloney said. “Midweek games
are always a challenge because we pitch a lot of guys.”