With two Buckeyes on base, another at-bat and only one out, junior right-hander Tyler Burgoon knew he needed to make the upcoming pitch the final one of the game.

Ohio State had climbed back from a four-run deficit against the Michigan baseball team and brought the series-clinching game to within one in the top of the eighth inning. Before throwing the pitch, Burgoon was focusing on one thing.

“Getting the ground ball,” Burgoon said. “I mean, (Ohio State Ryan Dew is) not the best runner in the world, and with our middle infield, we’ll easily turn a double play. We’ve done it all week and throughout the year and I have so much confidence that we can get that job done.”

And the Wolverines delivered on Burgoon’s guarantee to secure a 6-5 win and claim the weekend series.

Freshman shortstop Derek Dennis gathered the ground ball, sprinted across second base and threw the ball to senior first baseman Mike Dufek for the double play.

The weekend started off with a freak injury to the Buckeyes two-year ace pitcher Alex Wimmers. Wimmers is one of the best pitchers in the Big Ten this season with a 9-0 record, which included a 1.6 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched.

Wimmers was named an 2009 All-American and Big Ten co-Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and has continued to live up to his reputation this season. But after reportedly tweaking his hamstring during a pre-game stretch, he was unable to make it to the mound this series.

Although the injury gave Michigan a sigh of relief, Ohio State was still first to score during Friday’s contest. But the Wolverines immediately responded in the bottom of the second inning with two consecutive doubles. Dufek led the offensive effort with a double down the right baseline that brought in senior catcher Chris Berset. Then, redshirt senior right fielder Nick Urban followed suit with a double to the opposite corner that drove in two RBI.

As a result of strong pitching performances by senior left-hander Eric Katzman, redshirt junior Matt Gerbe, and Burgoon, this three-run rally proved to be the deciding factor in the 4-1 Michigan win. The Buckeyes were unable to produce at the plate, going only 1-14 with runners on base, while the Wolverines pitched a combined one run and seven-strikeout affair.

But on Saturday, the bats swung the opposite way. With former shortstop Barry Larkin and a medley of Michigan baseball alumni in the stands to honor the retirement of Larkin’s jersey, the Wolverines were unable to seal the win.

“It’s definitely disappointing (to lose), especially on a day when we are retiring Barry Larkin’s jersey,” junior leftfielder Ryan LaMarre said. “But I mean, we fought. We battled.”

A double in the bottom of the eighth by LaMarre tied up the game as redshirt junior second baseman Anthony Toth came sprinting across home plate. As the score evened out to 2-2, the Wolverines had a chance at a comeback win.

But the late run was for naught as the Buckeyes tallied one more run in the top of the tenth inning and Michigan, unable to match it, fell 3-2.

In the rubber match on Sunday, the Wolverines won by that one-run margin, which could nonetheless prove to be a huge ‘W’.

Friday night’s offensive duo was back in action as Dufek and Urban both launched a home run out of Ray Fisher Stadium.

“I felt a lot better at the plate this weekend,” Urban said. “I felt more comfortable and that I was seeing the ball better and it paid off.”

Michigan also played solid defense, producing only one error on the weekend. Although a number of pitchers contributed to the series win, Burgoon made a valiant effort in closing-out all three games.

“What a job again by Tyler Burgoon,” Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. “I mean, pitching three straight days — that’s just willpower. It’s a tough spot to be in and to be able to get the double play when it’s all on the line; he was just pitching with heart. That’s what your closer needs to do.”

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