Michigan coach Rich Maloney looked towards Toledo’s dugout after the Rockets’ 3-1 victory over the Wolverines and saw what his team should be.

Toledo (7-2 MAC, 18-15 overall), after all, got off to a poor start, just like Michigan. The Rockets sat at just 7-15 before taking off on an 11-game winning streak.

“We just watched that team right there, they’ve won 11 in a row,” Maloney said Wednesday. “At some point, they started correcting some of those things that we’re still having — that big inning. That’s what (Toledo coach) Cory (Mee) was talking to me about prior to the game … Their offensive stats are the same as ours.”

The inconsistencies, though, continued for the Wolverines on Wednesday. Michigan (2-4 Big Ten, 9-22 overall) is now more than halfway through the season and still appears schizophrenic. One day, like in Tuesday’s 13-3 shelling of Bowling Green, the team looks great. The next, like against Toledo, it barely musters four hits.

The pitching staff threw 23 great innings against Purdue, but it allowed three or four crippling frames.

On Wednesday night, the second inning was the dagger. Freshman right-hander Jake Engels surrendered four hits and a walk, and the Rockets capitalized for three runs. The cushion was more than enough for the Toledo staff, led by sophomore right-hander Jared Locke.

“That’s the story of our season,” redshirt senior second baseman Anthony Toth said. “It’s one inning a game a lot (of times) has killed us. It’s just been one inning. Today is a perfect example.”

The Michigan bats, which looked so potent just a day ago, were lifeless. Aside from junior designated hitter Coley Crank’s third-inning home run with the bases empty, the Wolverines barely had any scoring opportunities.

Locke, whose only mistake in seven innings of work was the pitch to Crank, kept the Michigan batters guessing. In the seventh, he struck out freshman right fielder Michael O’Neill with a pitch on the outside of the plate. O’Neill didn’t like the call and let home plate umpire Gene Klotz know it. Klotz immediately tossed O’Neill, who became the first Wolverine to be ejected from a game this season.

It has been a frustrating year, and an especially frustrating game for the lineup, considering how well it performed Tuesday.

“I was hoping that after we got those runs yesterday, I was really hoping that today we’d have came out and just beat them,” Maloney said. “That would have been a great thing for our confidence. But nothing’s been easy for this group.”

Michigan actually put a small rally together in the eighth inning. With two outs, Toth, who has been mired in a deep slump, singled to right field and received a supportive ovation from the crowd.

“It was a relief, it was a relief,” Toth said. “There’s no holding back or sugar-coating it — I’ve obviously been struggling beyond any point that I’ve ever struggled before. So it felt good, and hopefully it’s a sign that I’m coming out of this little funk that I’m in.”

A walk to sophomore centerfielder Patrick Biondi put the tying runner on base for redshirt sophomore second baseman Kevin Krantz.

For a moment, Krantz’s liner seemed destined to go over sophomore left fielder Tyler Grogg’s head and off the wall to tie the game.

But it was just for a moment. Grogg barely had time to react but made a last-second leap backward to come down with the snow-cone grab.

“(Krantz) scorched that ball and the guy makes a heck of a play,” Maloney said. “It was scorched. That’s the way it’s been. Even when we have a chance, most of the time it just hasn’t worked out.”

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