MT. PLEASANT — It’s the bottom of the ninth. You
lead by one, but your opponent has the tying and winning runs on
base. Your sixth pitcher of the day — an everyday second
baseman — has failed to improve the situation. If you are
Michigan baseball coach Rich Maloney, whom do you call on from the
bullpen?

Yesterday, the answer was freshman right-hander Dan Lentz.

Lentz came through as the most unexpected hero in
Michigan’s three hour and 55 minute, 14-13 win over Central
Michigan at Theunissen Stadium. After a wild pitch advanced runners
to second and third, Lentz recovered from a 3-0 count to strike out
pinch hitter Brian Lautzenheiser. Following an intentional walk to
second baseman David Latour Jr. to load the bases, Lentz cemented
his first career save by getting catcher Derek Schaller to pop a
foul ball to Michigan third baseman A.J. Scheidt for the final out.
All this from a pitcher with three career collegiate appearances, a
9.00 ERA and an 0-2 record heading into yesterday’s
action.

“I’m really proud to see a freshman come in there
when things are hot like that,” Maloney said.
“That’s crunch-time.”

“My heart was running,” Lentz said. “It was
beating pretty quickly. I was just telling myself to throw the
breaking ball as hard as I could. (Maloney) has stuck with me, and
that really gives me a lot of confidence. Finally getting a
positive spin on one of (my) games really puts my confidence at an
all-time high.”

The man of the hour was first baseman Kyle Bohm, a transfer from
Auburn who is rapidly making a name for himself in Ann Arbor. The
junior went 2-for-3 with three walks and two three-run home runs.
Both shots were hit to left field, with the latter one — off
right-hander David LeMieux in the ninth inning — putting
Michigan (16-12 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) ahead for good in a slugfest
that featured 36 total hits, three lead changes and 12
pitchers.

“I was real happy that we could battle through some shaky
play on defense and pull a win out here,” said a relieved
Bohm, after Michigan had committed four fielding errors in the
game. “It was very good for us on the road.”

Bohm and Maloney were especially pleased with the team’s
ability to fight its way back into contention after falling behind
by scores of 5-0 and 12-11.

“I think (the comebacks) are a testament to our team and
to how much intestinal fortitude we have,” Bohm said.
“It says a lot (about the team).”

“We found a way to win,” Maloney said. “In the
rebuilding of the program, this is one of the things we have to
learn to do. It was a big step for us. We’re certainly not
where we need to be, but we’re further along today than we
were yesterday, and that’s a real positive.”

Michigan freshman Michael McCormick struggled in his first
career start, giving up five runs on six hits in two innings. The
Central Michigan second was highlighted by rightfielder J.T.
Jones’s inside-the-park home run.

Freshman Andrew Hess relieved McCormick and calmed things down,
allowing two runs while four strikeouts in three innings.
Hess’s solid outing made the first Michigan comeback
possible. The rally came in the form of a six-run fourth inning,
where Bohm and Scheidt hit back-to-back homers. Michigan had not
hit consecutive round-trippers on the road since 1998.

“When (Bohm) gets things going, it’s easy to follow
suit,” Scheidt said.

But the Chippewas kept things interesting with three two-run
home runs, the first coming in the sixth and the final two coming
in the eighth.

With Central Michigan ahead 12-11 going into the final inning,
Michigan’s situation appeared desperate. But Bohm’s
second blast of the afternoon scored second baseman Chris Getz and
rightfielder Matt Butler to put Michigan in front, 14-12.

“Bohm answered the bell when we needed him,” Maloney
said.

The tense bottom of the ninth featured four Michigan pitchers:
Phil Tognetti, Ali Husain, Getz and Lentz. Central Michigan closed
its deficit to one on designated hitter Bryan Mitzel’s RBI
single to center, at which point Lentz entered.

Scheidt was unhappy with his two errors on the day, but came
away satisfied from the high-scoring affair.

“I just need to be more consistent on all facets of the
game,” Scheidt said. “(But) it was a shootout, it was
just awesome. It was fun to play that kind of ball.”

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