After his team dropped five consecutive games to open the 2004
campaign, Michigan coach Rich Maloney was far from happy.
“I shook the team up a little bit, made sure their
expectations were in line with mine,” Maloney said. “We
don’t take too kindly to losing five games in a
His players got the message this weekend, when they traveled to
Durham for a three-game set. The visiting Wolverines (3-5) trailed
in every game, but managed late runs in each to sweep Duke (7-7).
The series featured 11 lead changes, and offered Michigan an
opportunity to show off its true colors.
“We play blue-collar type baseball, tough-nosed
baseball,” Maloney said. “We came from behind when
adversity hit, and we kept battling back.”
Michigan’s thrilling victory on Sunday showcased the
team’s gritty nature. Trailing 6-4 in the ninth inning, the
Wolverines went to work. Scrappy sophomore shortstop Chris Getz,
who scored the winning run in the first two games of the weekend,
led off the frame with a bunt single. Then 5-foot-6, 165-pound
junior outfielder Matt Butler blasted a double off of the
“Matt’s small in stature, but giant in heart,”
Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. “When he hit that ball off
the top of the wall, we said, ‘We’re going to do
With runners on second and third, freshman outfielder Brad
Roblin delivered. His double to right scored Getz and Butler, tying
the game. Junior first baseman Kyle Bohm followed by drilling his
second game-winning double of the series, scoring Roblin and giving
Michigan a 7-6 lead.
“They had given me fastballs all day, and I got a good
pitch over the plate,” Bohm said.
The Wolverines added two insurance runs, capping off a five-run
ninth. Aided by Butler’s spectacular diving catch in the
bottom half of the inning, freshman Andrew Hess completed two and
two-thirds innings of scoreless relief and earned his first
The Wolverines’ 9-6 win capped off an impressive
“We could have easily lost those games and we found a way
to get things done,” Maloney said.
Sophomore reliever Derek Feldkamp was vital in Michigan’s
first two victories. On Friday, he picked up where starter Jim
Brauer left off. He pitched two and two-thirds scoreless innings
and notched the victory in the 2-1 contest. Feldkamp then came up
with the save in Michigan’s 9-8 victory on Saturday. With the
potential tying and winning runs in scoring position, he struck out
pinch hitter Corey Whiting.
“It was a little bit nerve-racking,” Feldkamp said.
“You just have to take a deep breath and focus on the mitt. I
was lucky enough to throw the right pitch in the right
Michigan’s hot bats propelled them through the weekend.
Bohm and sophomore third baseman A.J. Scheidt each picked up eight
hits in the series.
While Duke isn’t a baseball powerhouse, Maloney
understands the importance of three hard-fought road victories for
his young team.
“The kids are learning how to win — it’s all
part of the process,” Maloney said. “If you find ways
to win games like we did this weekend, it can be contagious.
Come-from-behind victories are special.”