The Michigan baseball team had a fair shot to tally a win on Friday against Indiana, and senior right-hander Brandon Sinnery was supposed to deliver it from the mound.

Sinnery struggled, but he didn’t have trouble finding the strike zone — of his 78 pitches, 52 were called strikes. The problem was he couldn’t recover once the Hoosiers batters rolled off a hot start.

Indiana left-hander Joey DeNato’s outburst put Sinnery’s numbers into a lopsided perspective.

DeNato pitched a gem — eight full innings without a single earned run. He topped the Hoosiers single-game record for strikeouts, logging 12 against the Wolverines.

Sinnery just couldn’t find any sense of rhythm from the first pitch. He walked Indiana center-fielder Justin Cureton at the top of the first inning, which snowballed into three earned runs.

After Michigan disappointed without an offensive retaliation, Sinnery awarded Cureton first base, as he was hit by the pitch. Then catcher Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run bomb over right field to deepen the deficit.

In the third inning, Sinnery gave up another pair of runs, but his mound worries had come to an end — he allowed just two hits in his final three scoreless innings.

Sinnery struck out three batters and walked only one, but his early woes dug the Wolverines a hole that they couldn’t climb out of — his efforts were surprising, considering his recent performances.

“We’ve been battling with having consistency with both pitching and defense,” said senior third baseman John Lorenz. “That’s just something we need to work on — forming a level of consistency.”

But expectations ran high. Last year, Sinnery ranked third in the Big Ten with a 2.91 ERA and second with a .239 opposing batting average. He was named to the All-Big Ten third team and claimed Pitcher of the Week after shutting out Illinois on April 17, 2011.

Boasting strong statistics at the start of the season, he was named co-captain. But his production was less than what his numbers promised.

He pitched consistently through nonconference play, but not like the ace is supposed to. Sinnery, junior right-hander Ben Ballantine and redshirt junior left-hander Bobby Brosnahan were in a three-horse race for the Friday-night spot.

At that point, pitching coach Steve Merriman was uncertain who would pull ahead and emerge from the pack. But when Big Ten action began, Sinnery stepped up, Ballantine fell short and Brosnahan was plagued with shoulder pain.

Sinnery was on the rise, gaining momentum — he gave up just three earned runs in 25.1 innings against Michigan State, Penn State and Northwestern.

Though he rarely walks batters, giving up only one per conference game, his hot streak came to an end on Friday when Sinnery failed to lift Michigan to a much-needed win. But maybe he just has bad luck against Indiana.

Last year, Sinnery hurled against the Hoosiers with just 10 pitches — six balls — before being pulled. He relieved then-sophomore right-hander Kyle Clark in the third inning with Indiana runners on first and second base.

Though he wasn’t credited with the runs, Sinnery allowed Indiana to score on a two-run single and reloaded the bases on a walk without retiring a batter.

The year before, Sinnery was a sophomore on staff and pitched only one full inning against the Hoosiers.

Relieving Brosnahan in the eighth inning, Sinnery hit two batters, which has been a recurring situation. He’s currently one pitch shy of racking up the most hit batters in the conference.

Sinnery faced Indiana for the third time in his career on Friday. Though he saw more time on the field and he threw a solid number of strikes, he answered poorly to the Hoosier bats.

“That started the stage for what the weekend would look like,” said Michigan coach Rich Maloney.

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