EVANSTON — With one terse whip of the bat, Northwestern first baseman Paul Snieder erased the Michigan baseball team’s hopes of gaining a sweep to get back into the Big Ten race.

The native Hawaiian stroked redshirt sophomore pitcher Tyler Mills’s first pitch for a grand slam over the right-field wall after Mills relieved junior Brandon Sinnery in the seventh inning. The homer helped to give the Wildcats a 7-1 win at Rocky Miller Park.

Sinnery had another impressive outing, keeping Michigan deadlocked at 1-1 through six innings, but the Wolverines’ bats were not up to the task once again. Freshman right fielder Michael O’Neill’s sacrifice fly in the third inning was the only run the team could muster.

Northwestern (8-11 Big Ten, 18-27 overall) started to get to Sinnery in the seventh inning and the wheels fell off of what little the Michigan wagon has left.

The Wildcats loaded the bases with a walk, a single, and a catcher’s interference call before shortstop Trevor Stevens gave Northwestern a one-run lead with a softly hit pop-up behind third base that fell for a single. Sinnery walked in another run before Michigan coach Rich Maloney pulled him in favor of Mills.

And after just one pitch, the game was effectively over.

Maloney’s frustration — perhaps about the whole season in general — bubbled over the following inning. After Mills walked Northwestern’s first two hitters in the eighth, Maloney called for a meeting at the mound with the whole infield. When home-plate umpire Michael Droll came to the mound to break up the conference a few minutes later, Maloney had a few words for Droll and earned an ejection.

And Maloney also had reason to be upset with his own team. In the first inning, after O’Neill singled and stole second, he tried to take third on a pitch that bounced in to the catcher, but hardly got away from him. O’Neill was gunned out at third for the first out of the inning.

In the third inning, the Wolverines (6-13, 15-34) had runners on second and third with no outs and freshman Cole Martin laid down a bunt right back to the starting pitcher, Luke Farrell. Redshirt sophomore third baseman Kevin Krantz ran home from third and was thrown out easily at the plate. Maloney had apparently called for a safety squeeze instead of a suicide squeeze and rebuked Krantz before replacing him with junior John Lorenz the next inning. Lorenz had recently been dropped from the starting lineup after holding down third base all season.

Michigan, which started the day in last place in the conference — just two games behind the two sixth-place teams — was dealt a blow by the other results of the day. Penn State, Indiana, Iowa, and Northwestern — who were all immediately in front of the Wolverines in the standings — won. This puts Michigan back three games from the all-important sixth seed in the conference with just five games to play.

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