In Sunday”s 10-inning, 3-2 win over Indiana, the Michigan baseball team showed it could come up with clutch hits in late innings. Now the Wolverines would like to get back to their ways of the first three games of the series, where they could hit any time in any inning.
“We”re always trying to prove something with our bats because obviously our pitching staff is unbelievable,” outfielder Brandon Roberts said. “Everybody is going to say pitching is the real strength on (our) team. So the bats are always going to have to be proving themselves to catch up with the pitching.”
As the hitting improves and the pitching keeps on rolling, the Wolverines find themselves in the midst of a six-game winning streak their first since 1998.
“You start to believe that there”s no way you”re going to lose,” Michigan coach Geoff Zahn said of the streak.
“If we can just keep this momentum going get four, five, seven, 10 wins in a row we”ll be right (where we want to be),” freshman Jake Fox said. We need to “make sure we keep playing the way we”re playing.”
The first chance for Michigan to flex its muscle this week comes this afternoon at 3 p.m. as Michigan hosts Eastern Michigan. Michigan travels to Western Michigan for another 3 p.m. game tomorrow.
The players admit that it”s much easier to get excited for the Big Ten games rather than the midweek contests. But with “Michigan” in every school”s name on this week”s schedule, the Wolverines have extra incentive for their MAC competition.
“You want to focus on every game, but of course you”re going to be more pumped up for the Big Ten games,” Roberts said. “Of course, Eastern and Western are both big games because you want to win (against) your in-state rivals.”
Michigan”s first meeting with Eastern a week ago was a classic example of pitching overshadowing the Wolverines” hitting. Sophomore Rich Hill threw for five scoreless innings and gave up just one hit as Michigan went on to win in Ypsilanti, 4-0. The performance impressed Zahn enough to put Hill in the Big Ten rotation, as he started in last Sunday”s win. Despite shutting down Eastern, Michigan expects to see a group of confident Eagles.
“I think they”re going to come out firing,” Roberts said. “They think they can beat us. We only beat them 4-0 the other day. It was a pretty close game. We”re going to have to be fired up and ready to go.”