In its last tournament before its home opener, the Michigan baseball team (8-7) will head to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to compete in the Chanticleer Classic beginning Friday.

Michigan will take on Coastal Carolina (7-10) on Friday and Saturday, followed by a game on Sunday against Akron (1-12).

The Wolverines head to South Carolina after winning the USD Classic in California last weekend, where they defeated Holy Cross (2-11) twice and beat San Diego (11-6) in the championship game. A combination of strong pitching and consistent at-bats gave the Wolverines the edge.

Michigan has made significant strides in the bullpen and its lineup since the season began. Just four weeks ago, the Wolverines returned home from Berkeley, Calif., after being swept in their first outing of the season. The second trip out west ended on a much different and happier note.

Though winning the USD Classic was something to celebrate, the Wolverines are looking towards an even bigger goal – sweeping in South Carolina. The team hasn’t been able to come away from a tournament or series having won every game.

“Getting better this week means playing one day at a time, one inning at a time, one pitch at a time,” said Michigan coach Erik Bakich. “If we do that, we should be able to finish a weekend off, and we haven’t done that yet.”

In order to reach that goal, Michigan’s defense needs to be focused and produce solid performances on the mound. Coastal Carolina boasts a powerful lineup, including junior outfielder Jacob May, who posted a .867 slugging percentage and a .632 on-base percentage last week.

The Wolverines have plenty of strong contenders who could take the mound, including standout freshman left-handed pitcher Evan Hill, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week at the beginning of March. He is currently ranked third in the conference with a 1.07 ERA and has 14 strikeouts this season.

“He’s shown a lot of character pitching out of big jams and (has) done a really nice job not trying to do too much,” Bakich said. “He’s pitched with good tempo and pitched to contact to let our defense work.”

Hill won’t be the only solid option on the mound for Michigan. Freshman pitcher Jacob Cronenworth has made noteworthy contributions on defense and sophomore left-hander Trent Stzkutnik has also been a strong force for the Wolverines. Stzkunik leads the team with 16 strikeouts and earned the win against Holy Cross with only four hits allowed and four strikeouts in five innings last weekend.

Michigan hopes to put the pressure on the Chanticleers and Akron at the plate as well. The Wolverines’ lineup is led by two of their outfielders – junior Michael O’Neill and senior Patrick Biondi. O’Neill is batting .441, followed by Biondi at .393, and they’ve each recorded 16 hits this season. Cronenworth has also had success at bat, hitting .304 and leading the team in RBI with 15.

The game against Akron on Sunday isn’t anticipated to be a difficult contest, as the Zips have only recorded one win this season. But Bakich has stressed to his players the consequences of underestimating any team, regardless of their record.

“We don’t look at their record,” Bakich said. “Those are the games that if you have a mental lapse and a breakdown, those are the ones that can really hurt your post-season chances, because they look like a major blemish on your record.”

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