The Michigan baseball team (3-12) has the chance to put its poor beginning of the season behind it when it hosts Iowa (6-8) in its Big Ten opener this afternoon at 3 p.m.
The Wolverines need to forget about the start of their season and focus in on the conference schedule ahead. It’s what happens in the next few months that will dictate the success – or failure – of the Michigan squad.
“We have 32 (conference) games, and these are the games that our season hinges on,” interim coach Chris Harrison said. “It doesn’t matter if we come into these games at 15-0 or 0-15. We’re at the same spot with regards to the Big Ten season. Everybody’s 0-0.”
While the Big Ten teams may have equal records right now, statistically they are not equal, and Michigan is at the bottom of most of the important categories. It owns the worst ERA (7.01) and the worst batting average in the Big Ten at .259. The Wolverines have a lot to improve upon if they want to claim equality with the other teams in the Big Ten. They can take great strides in doing so by downing the Hawkeyes this weekend.
Senior captain Bobby Korecky (1-2, 7.28 ERA) will take the mound this afternoon. The Wolverines’ ace has faced Iowa three times in his career, winning two of the contests in complete games. Korecky has already completed two games this season including one shutout. He is the only Wolverine to accomplish either feat this season.
Michigan faces a potentially dangerous opponent in Iowa this weekend. While the Hawkeyes have not been at the top of the Big Ten in recent years, Harrison still respects the threat that Iowa brings to The Fish.
“They’ve always been a tough team,” Harrison said. “We’ve had good games against them, since I’ve been here. The games have all been tight.”
The Hawkeyes will bring some power into the series that should provide for some exciting games.
“They’ve got some guys who can swing the bat,” Harrison said. “They have some pop in the middle of their order, and usually they have pitched pretty well. Especially the first two games of the series, I look to be real tight close games. That’s been the history of it.”
With four games this weekend against Iowa, Michigan could come away with three or four wins to start out conference play. But like all coaches, Harrison is just taking the season one game at a time and trying to improve every game.
“Let’s take Friday’s game first,” Harrison said. “We’re hoping to play well and win the game on Friday.”