To be a contender for the Big Ten conference title, a team needs
young players to step up throughout the season.

Michigan Baseball
Second baseman Chris Getz has improved his hitting, making eight hits and five RBI last weekend. (MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily)

For the Michigan baseball team, freshman pitcher Michael
McCormick has to do just that for the Wolverines if they want to
beat in-state rival Central Michigan today.

McCormick will make his first start for the Wolverines after
making six relief appearances and pitching 9.2 innings this
year.

Although Michigan coach Rich Maloney and the rest of the staff
would like to bring him and some of the other younger players along
slowly, they cannot.

Many of the veteran pitchers on the team have been worked hard
and need rest, so it is up to McCormick to take advantage of the
spot start.

“It is time for him to get some experience,” Maloney
said. “He has excellent stuff, he just needs the
work.”

After a solid bullpen session on Monday, Maloney penciled in
McCormick for the start against the gritty Chippewas today.

McCormick, a lefty, will have to pay attention to baserunners.
The Chippewas are one of the most aggressive teams Michigan (5-3
Big Ten, 15-12 overall) will face this year.

“(Central Michigan) will try to steal 120 to 140 bases in
a season,” Maloney said.

“Having a lefty starting should help keep them close to
the bag.”

The Chippewas (5-1 MAC, 16-13 overall) present a tough challenge
for the Wolverines, as they are similar to Michigan. Both teams are
blue-collar, small-ball teams. The entire pitching staff for
Central Michigan mixes its pitches well and keeps batters on their
toes.

Michigan feels it needs to beat Central Michigan to establish
itself as the dominant team in the state.

If Michigan can beat Central Michigan, after defeating Eastern
Michigan last week, it would help the Wolverines toward recruiting
in the state, something Maloney feels Michigan needs to control to
be the best in the Big Ten.

“We have to get back to dominating the state,”
Maloney said. “To do that, I think we need to win eight out
of 10 games against the in-state teams. No easy task.”

Maloney has not been able to see as much of Central Michigan as
he would have liked due to the Wolverines’ road trip to Iowa
City, but he feels that Michigan is ready to face the team.

A few Wolverines are swinging hot bats right now. Second baseman
Chris Getz had eight hits and five RBI last weekend.

“Getz is really coming into his own right now,”
Maloney said. “He wasn’t hitting poorly before, but he
hadn’t caught fire yet, either.”

Getz is not the only Wolverine hitting well. Maloney feels that
the team is showing flashes of good, timely hitting.

Michigan may not be hitting .330 as a team, but it has been
hitting with men on base and when the game is on the line.

That was evident this weekend in the final game against Iowa.
Third baseman A.J. Scheidt hit a double that scored first baseman
Kyle Bohm and ultimately won the game.

While timely hitting goes a long way, solid pitching always
beats good hitting, and McCormick hopes to provide that today when
he goes for his first career win.

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