After the Michigan baseball team finished the Snowbird Invitational with a 3-1 record, two players were given individual awards for their weekend performances. Before the team’s game against Florida Gulf Coast on Monday, it was announced that junior outfielder Michael O’Neill earned the Big Ten Player of the Week award, and that freshman pitcher Evan Hill won the Big Ten Freshman of the Week award.

O’Neill earned the recognition after batting .474 in a four-game stretch that included two doubles, five runs scored, two RBI and five stolen bases. This was the third time O’Neill has earned the award in his career, but the recognition has not gotten old for him.

“Every time you win it, it’s special to be recognized by people who watch the conference and other players in our conference,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill credited patience at the plate as being a big part of his success, exemplified by his .500 on-base percentage and .579 slugging percentage during the weekend.

“We happened to go 3-1 and I happened to have a very good weekend,” O’Neill said. “It’s nice to put it all together like that, for me individually and as a team.”

O’Neill has been pacing the Wolverines offensively all season, leading the team in batting average, hits, doubles, stolen bases and slugging percentage.

Hill earned his accolade after pitching six shutout innings in the second game of Michigan’s doubleheader against St. Louis on Saturday. Hill struck out four batters in the outing while allowing just two hits.

“I feel really honored,” Hill said. “I appreciate the fact that they recognize how hard I’ve been working to improve my abilities through the offseason, and now it’s paying off in the season.”

Before the season, Hill was not sure he would be in the starting rotation. Three weeks later, Hill boasts a 1.45 earned run average and a 2-0 record after three starts, while leading the team in innings pitched with 18.2. Despite the early success and the award, Hill sees a great deal of room for improvement, especially after surrendering five walks and hitting a batter on Saturday.

“It’s a matter of my mental focus and just keeping my routine the same every time and keeping my consistency and not focusing on what happened in the past,” Hill said. “You know I walked a guy and now I’m flustered and then I walk the next guy.”

Though Hill believes he still has a lot to work on, it is clear that the award is no small feat as he is the first Wolverine ever to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

“I never thought that something like this would come so early in my career,” Hill said.

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