With the summer sun blazing above, the Michigan baseball team heated up Ray Fisher Stadium with a 4-1 win over Ohio State on Friday night.
The game began with a startling last-minute change to the Buckeye lineup: left-hander Theron Minium replaced two-year ace pitcher Alex Wimmers on the mound. Wimmers has dominated the Big Ten this season with a 9-0 record. The right-hander has a 1.6 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched.
Wimmers was named the 2009 All-American and Big Ten co-Pitcher of the Year and has continued to live up to his reputation this season. However, after tweaking a muscle during a pre-game stretch, he was unable to make it to the mound to start off the weekend series tonight.
Although this gave Michigan a sigh of relief, Ohio State was still first to score, taking advantage of a balk in the top of the second inning. But the Wolverines answered immediately with a three-run rally. Senior first baseman Mike Dufek lead the effort with a double down the right baseline that brought in senior catcher Chris Berset. Redshirt senior right fielder Nick Urban followed suit with a double down the left field line. Urban collected two RBI to give him 26 for the season.
Michigan added one more run to the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh, but other than that there was little action at home plate.
With strong pitching performances by senior left-hander Eric Katzman, redshirt junior Matt Gerbe and junior Tyler Burgoon, Ohio State was unable to produce. The Buckeyes went only 1-14 with runners on base for the night, as the Wolverines pitched a combined five hits, one run, and seven strikeouts.
The weekend rivalry will continue tomorrow night as Michigan honors former shortstop Barry Larkin by retiring his No. 16 jersey prior to the game.