The pitch wasn’t Bobby Brosnahan’s first choice.

In the top the fifth in the first game Saturday, an inning after the Michigan baseball team had cut Indiana’s two-run lead in half, Indiana’s junior slugger Alex Dickerson dug in. Dickerson, the all-American and 2010 Big Ten triple-crown king, was up with two outs and two on, looking to blow the game wide open like he has done so many times in the past.

The count was full, and the redshirt sophomore Brosnahan wanted fastball.

“We were battling with each other,” Brosnahan said. “I wanted to strike him out on a fastball just to show him I could, but he fouled those off.”

Instead, Brosnahan took some speed off with the cutter and unleashed a pitch that started out of the zone before darting back in to catch the inside corner. Dickerson was frozen, and the Wolverines got out of a critical jam.

“That really gave our team a lift right there, that strikeout,” Brosnahan said. “Then afterwards (redshirt sophomore shortstop) Kevin (Krantz) hits a home run and we got a win for ourselves, so it was huge.”

Brosnahan was confident enough to attack Dickerson and really never appeared to lose his confidence all year, despite an ugly start to the season. He has maintained that his motion feels the same now as he did at the season’s commencement.

After running up his ERA to 10.19 in his first five appearances of the season, Brosnahan’s ERA in his three starts in the state of Michigan is 3.54. And even that statistic might be misleading.

Brosnahan has shown command in all his pitches and enough confidence in his off-speed pitches to throw them when behind in the count and for first-pitch strikes. Besides 1.2 poor innings against Michigan State, in which he surrendered five runs, he has been near lights-out.

His denial of Dickerson in the fifth inning helped secure the victory for Michigan.

ONE UP, ONE DOWN: Junior catcher Coley Crank was hitting so poorly that Michigan coach Rich Maloney benched him for the second game of the Michigan State series.

Looks like that move lit a spark.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Crank entered the game as a pinch hitter with two men on base. He hit a towering home run over the left field wall to bring Michigan within one run of the Spartans, and he has been on a tear ever since. Since being benched, he is batting .588 and has a hit in all six games.

Meanwhile, redshirt senior second baseman Anthony Toth is moving in the opposite direction. He has gone hitless in his last 26 at bats.

His streak was temporarily snapped in the first inning of the second game on Saturday when he appeared to pick up an infield single. The ruling was later changed to a throwing error, though, and the slide continued.

“Anthony will come around sooner or later, I truly do believe,” Maloney said. “He wants it so bad, and sometimes, when you want it so badly, it can actually be a hindrance because this game is so mental.

“And he’s really a good hitter. The irony of the whole thing is, he’s putting so much pressure on himself, he wants to do so well. And sooner or later, he’s just going to have to let it go. And it’s hard to do.”

DENNIS GOES DOWN: Sophomore shortstop Derek Dennis injured his foot in last weekend’s series against Michigan State and has been wearing a boot ever since.

Though he didn’t leave the game, he suffered a fracture and will be out three more weeks.

Krantz, the hero of Saturday’s first game, took over the shortstop duties in the Indiana series. Maloney said he might experiment with moving Krantz to second base and Toth to shortstop. Toth played the shortstop position earlier in his career but moved to second base to make room for Dennis last season.

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