The Michigan baseball team is hot.
Tuesday, the Wolverines recorded their 10th-consecutive win, defeating Notre Dame 8-2 at Ray Fisher Stadium. The game featured a number of outstanding performances, like sophomore right-hander James Bourque, who worked a no-hitter into nearly eight frames.
“It was James Bourque night,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “He was on. Everything was on. He had a terrific night and he’s the reason we won the game.”
Bourque pitched a total of 7.2 innings, giving up his first hit in the top of the eighth. With good command of three pitches — fastball, curveball and his change-up — Bourque tallied a career-high eight strikeouts.
“The real story of the day was James Bourque coming out and really controlling the game,” said sophomore designated hitter Kevin White, who had a perfect game at the plate. “I was happy to help win the game for him.”
It looked like Bourque was going to pitch a no-hitter, until the top of the seventh, when second baseman Eric Jacobson missed a line drive through center. The play was eventually ruled an error, not a hit, keeping hopes of a no-hitter alive.
“It was pretty suspenseful, but kind of a fun little ride,” said Bourque. “I know that everybody was watching, all my teammates were watching, trying to tell them to make it an error.”
While Bourque was without a doubt the player to watch, his play was complemented by a dominant batting performance.
The Wolverine batters were on point at the plate. Offensive production began with sophomore outfielder Zach Zott, who blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning, his second of the season.
White went 4-for-4 with three singles, a double and two runs scored, and sophomore catcher Cole Martin went 3-for-4 with three hits and two RBI.
A slew of infield errors by Notre Dame (4-8 Big Ten, 19-15 overall) gave the Wolverines opportunities to score in nearly every inning. Michigan (7-2 Big Ten, 21-14 overall) outshined the Fighting Irish at the plate, recording 13 hits in eight innings of offensive play.
“Earlier in the year, we were kind of looking at each other, trying to figure out who would get the big hit in the big situation,” White said. “But now we come to the field with more confidence, and we know we’re going to execute the game plan and put ourselves in a good situation to win the game.”
The Michigan baseball team is hot, but not on fire. There’s a difference, and Bakich doesn’t want that difference to go unnoticed.
“Once you start feeling good about yourself, about where you are, three to four weeks into Big Ten play, that’s when you get bit in the butt,” Bakich said. “We’re playing well right now, but we’re not playing our best.”
The win marked Michigan’s 13th straight game that the pitching staff has allowed three or fewer runs. The Wolverines have recorded two shutouts over the course of their 10-game win streak, and they’re tied for first place in the Big Ten. If this isn’t their best, Michigan baseball fans have a lot to look forward to.