What do splintered blue benches, a rickety press box and songs
such as Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” have in
common?

They’re all part of the rich history of Michigan
baseball.

Although it occurred a day late due to inclement weather, this
past weekend ushered in another season at The Fish.

The 81-year-old stadium has likely seen better days, but its
dilapidation adds to its old-fashioned charm. The small crowd by no
means overflowed the stadium’s 4,000-person capacity, but
Michigan head coach Rich Maloney insists that ringing in the new
year by tackling intrastate rivals Oakland and Detroit, and
boosting his team’s confidence with four wins and cheers from
a supportive audience is what Opening Day is all about.

“It’s always fun to be at Fisher stadium and play in
front of our family and friends,” Maloney said.

Despite the rain-out of game one, Maloney was pleased with the
fact that Mother Nature gave the Wolverines two overcast days to
complete all four of their scheduled games this past weekend.

“We were able to play four nine-inning games, and that was
real important to us,” Maloney said. “We wanted a lot
of our pitchers to get some work, so that was nice. We pretty much
accomplished what we needed to accomplish in these four
games.”

Brauer power: Redshirt junior Jim Brauer was having a
rough season until Saturday afternoon’s game against Detroit.
Prior to that contest, the pitcher had an ERA of 11.02, and no wins
under his belt.

But last weekend, Brauer may have seen the light at the end of
the tunnel. He struck out a career-best 13 batters en route to his
critical first win of the season, and his eighth in his time as a
Wolverine.

Maloney was pleased with the progress Brauer made in the
Michigan Classic.

“(Brauer) struggled at the beginning of the season,”
Maloney said. “And for him to come out and do what he did
they other day — it’s what people have been expecting
of him. We just hadn’t seen it.”

The coach hopes that Brauer will be able to continue this
positive trend into conference play.

“Hopefully, he can repeat it and get on a roll
here,” Maloney said. “Because he’s got quality
stuff — he’s got number-one stuff, he just needs the
confidence.”

The pitcher’s 13 strikeouts in seven innings are the most
for Michigan since 2002, when Bobby Korecky had 13 in a
complete-game shutout at Texas-San Antonio.

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