When Michigan played Minnesota in the opening game of the Louisville Tournament a month ago, its record was 17-2.
The Wolverines’ record in the following 19 games: 17-2.
Michigan won that game with the Golden Gophers 7-2 with a true team effort, as 10 different players reached base.
No. 6 Michigan (7-1 Big Ten, 34-4 overall) finds itself in an oddly similar position now, preparing for a weekend series against Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins stresses consistency as the most important factor in that success. If stats are any indication, she should be pleased with her team’s performance this season.
Before the first Minnesota game, the Wolverines were batting .275 and had a .969 fielding percentage. Pitchers Nikki Nemitz and Jordan Taylor had combined for a 0.57 earned run average.
Nineteen games later, the numbers are remarkably similar. Michigan’s lineup checks in with an average of .296 and the fielding percentage is .967. Nemitz and Taylor have been just as dazzling with a 0.62 combined ERA.
“Whether it’s your pitcher, or your No. 3 hitter or your No. 9 hitter, we just want consistent performance,” Hutchins said.
Wisconsin (1-7, 11-29) has been consistent, but not in a good way. The Badgers have won just one of their last nine games and haven’t scored more than three runs in any contest since March 22.
After games against the Badgers on Friday and Saturday, the Wolverines head west for a Sunday doubleheader against the Gophers (4-2, 21-10).
In Louisville, Michigan roughed up Gopher starter Katie Dalen for six earned runs in seven innings.
This time the Wolverines will not only see Dalen in the circle, but also the Gophers’ best pitcher, Briana Hasset (14-4, 1.82 ERA). In their meeting last year, Hasset stifled the Wolverine offense, striking out seven in a 2-0 Minnesota win.
Hutchins know that consistency is the best way to avoid a similar result this season.
“This group is very talented,” she said. “I just want them to play their game. If they just do what they do, they’ll be fine.”