Daily Sports Writer
Despite the Wolverines’ (3-4) final-day victories against Bethune-Cookman, they finished their spring break trip with a sub-.500 record.
The trip was highlighted by a Michigan’s close game against No.3 Georgia Tech.
“We got out of (the game against Georgia Tech) that we will be able to compete,” Michigan assistant coach John Lowery said. “They’re a very experienced team. They pitched three guys that won 29 combined games last year and we actually out-hit them.”
The matchup with the Yellow Jackets was a furious one.
Tied in the bottom of the ninth, Maloney’s ball club continued to battle. Even though Georgia Tech (5-0) remained undefeated by beating Michigan (7-6) when its shortstop Tyler Greene knocked in the winning run on a one-out single, Lowery was pleased with the Wolverines effort.
“Overall, we are really swinging the bats well,” Lowery said. “We need to eliminate the walks that we allow. That’s going to help everybody. It will give us some guys that will go late into the game.”
Michigan went to Georgia and Florida to play six teams from Feb. 21 to March 1, including No. 3 Georgia Tech. But, as rain and storms postponed the Wolverines’ matchups with the southern teams, Michigan began to grow impatient.
“Early on in the year, we haven’t really played so the guys were pretty anxious,” Lowery said. “Actually the doubleheader days we played really well.”
Michigan began the series of games in Georgia with a loss against Armstrong Atlantic State (10-0). The Wolverines lost by six runs in Rich Maloney’s debut as Michigan’s head coach. Despite the loss, the game was highlighted by Michigan’s senior centerfielder Gino Lollio’s three-hit effort, which marked his 33rd career multi-hit game.
Due to rain, the Wolverines’ game against Georgia Tech was postponed to Feb. 23 and created the team’s first doubleheader of the year.
Facing off with Rider in the first game of the doubleheader, junior pitcher Bobby Ganza captured Michigan’s first victory, 15-1. Senior first baseman Nate Wright contributed to the team’s effort by stroking his first career grand slam and knocked in five runs for the Wolverines.
On Feb. 25 and 26, Michigan lost to both Saint Leo and Stetson. Senior third baseman Brock Koman captured his 200th career hit as a Wolverine in the loss against Saint Leo and was the lone Wolverine to hit in all seven games during the trip.
“Brock is probably the best hitter in our conference,” Lowery said. “If he’s not, he is one of the top three. Even though he is hitting close to .400, he still hasn’t found his groove yet. He would probably tell you the same. He’s just an exceptional player and an exceptional hitter. We’re glad to have him with us.”
Former Michigan pitcher Bobby Wood, currently in the New York Yankees organization, met with the Wolverines on Friday and provided them with the insight needed to come out and win the next day. With Wood’s words in the back of the players heads, Michigan salvaged its trip by winning both games against Bethune-Cookman on its final day of competition.
“It was a big day getting two wins,” Maloney said. “The kids have played well the entire trip, and they finally had a day with some success, and that is very important.”
Beating Bethune-Cookman 7-3 in the first game and 14-6 the second, the Wolverines had something positive to take away from the trip.
The Wolverines are scheduled to play three games in Oklahoma next weekend.