The scoreboard had already been shut off and nearly all the cars had pulled out of the parking lot at Ray Fisher Stadium.

But standing in the outfield were the 34 Michigan baseball players huddling around senior pitcher Kolby Wood and sophomore center fielder Patrick Biondi in a players-only meeting.

The duo was trying to regroup the Wolverines and muster up what little confidence the players may still have in them. But with the sun still shining in Ann Arbor, the reality is beginning to set in that the sun has set on Michigan after being swept by Minnesota, 4-1, 11-10 and 6-2.

“There was a lot said, but I think the biggest thing is just sticking together,” freshman right fielder Michael O’Neill said. “Guys can’t just go their separate ways just because we’re struggling.”

Sunday’s game got off to a good start for the Wolverines (6-12 Big Ten, 15-31 overall). Biondi led off with a single and later scored on a groundout from junior designated hitter Coley Crank.

But the Golden Gophers (11-7, 19-18) quickly responded in the next inning with a homer from first baseman Nick O’Shea. O’Shea scorched Michigan pitching all weekend, going 7-for-11 with three homers and six RBI.

In the fourth inning, Minnesota broke the game open thanks to miscues from Michigan. The Golden Gophers put four runs across the board off of two hits, a walk, a passed ball and an error.

Michigan redshirt sophomore Matt Broder pitched well in his five innings, allowing just three hits and three unearned runs. After a strong outing earlier in the week against Notre Dame, the lefty — typically a relief pitcher — looked comfortable as a starter, but was hurt by errors.

“I thought Broder pitched a nice ballgame,” Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. “He pitched two nice games this week, so that’s encouraging.

“You have to make plays — and we’ve made plays, several times we’ve made some plays — but in this particular game, like so many others, we just didn’t. So when we make a mistake, it gets compounded.”

The Wolverines scratched across another run in the seventh, but thanks to seven runners left on base, Michigan couldn’t come up with a timely hit, falling 6-2.

The highlight of the weekend, though, was the ninth inning of Saturday night’s game.

Minnesota was in control from the get-go, chasing starting pitcher, junior Kevin Vangheluwe, in the third inning to go ahead, 6-0.

In just over two innings, Vangheluwe allowed five runs and seven hits. Senior pitcher Matt Gerbe took over on the mound, surrendering three runs in 3.2 innings.

The Golden Gophers took a 9-4 lead into the ninth inning when Maloney inserted seldom-used redshirt sophomore reliever Chad Jasman because of the pitching shortage the Wolverines are suffering from injuries.

With the game seemingly over, the two runs Jasman gave up to make the score 11-4 seemed meaningless.

But in the bottom of the ninth, Michigan’s offense woke up.

With a runner on, sophomore shortstop Derek Dennis — who has struggled since returning from a broken foot — got his third hit of the game, and later scored on a two-run single from O’Neill.

O’Neill — who led off for the first time this year, in an attempt to bring more speed to the top of the lineup — went 4-for-5 with 3 RBI.

Later in the inning, sophomore second baseman Kevin Krantz drilled a two-run single with the bases loaded into center field, and an ensuing two-run single drew the game to 11-10.

“For some reason, our approach completely changed in the ninth,” O’Neill said. “We just strung a couple of hits together, and before you know it, (we were right back in it). Our approach was a lot different in the ninth than it was in the first eight innings.”

But Maloney put redshirt junior Garrett Stephens at the plate to pinch-hit and Stephens grounded out in the first pitch he saw to end the game.

“It was valiant that the kids came back,” Maloney said. “It was a heck of a comeback. It sure would’ve been something special if they pulled it off.”

The two ninth-inning runs from Jasman turned out to be the deciding scores in the 11-10 thriller.

On Friday, Michigan squandered another strong pitching performance from junior pitcher Brandon Sinnery in a 4-1 loss. Sinnery went 7.2 innings, but the Wolverines were held to just five hits in the loss.

With two series left in conference play, Michigan sits in last place. Though statistically speaking, the Wolverines haven’t been eliminated from qualifying for the Big Ten Tournament, the situation looks bleak.

“We’ve put ourselves in a situation where we’re probably going to have to sweep one of the (two upcoming) series to really have a chance (at making the Big Ten Tournament), and that’s going to be a challenge, but it can happen,” Maloney said.

Added Dennis: “We’re not counting ourselves out. We’re still going to fight and get as many wins as we can, because our record is still not acceptable for the tradition here at Michigan.”

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