A disappointing series split at the Caravelle Resort Classic in South Carolina may bring consistency issues up to the plate once again for the Michigan baseball team.

The Wolverines (6-9) had a promising start to the weekend, with wins over Ball State and Lipscomb, but then suffered back-to-back losses to No. 10 Coastal Carolina.

“Any time we split a series we are obviously falling short of our goal,” Michigan coach Rich Maloney said.

The Wolverines began strong Friday when the team jumped out to an early 8-0 lead over Ball State. Redshirt junior second baseman Anthony Toth led Michigan with four hits, while senior first baseman Mike Dufek and sophomore catcher Coley Crank each tallied three.

The Cardinals fought back in the fifth inning and scored six runs on six hits and on the heels of two Wolverine errors. The game was tied up in the top of the sixth, but the Wolverines answered with four straight singles to win the game, 12-8.

The Wolverines carried their momentum over to Saturday morning as they quickly built a 15-0 lead in the first three innings against Lipscomb. This was the first time Michigan scored 10 or more runs in the first inning since 1996. Michigan continued to hold the lead throughout the game and came out on top with a 17-4 win.

During Saturday’s games, freshman shortstop Derek Dennis hit the first two home runs of his career as a Wolverine. Dennis also has a career-best-three game hitting streak and now has four multi-hit games this season.

“It was great to see Dennis playing well and hitting home runs,” Maloney said. “He has a chance to be a star for us and we are very excited about his future.”

But the bats did not continue to swing in Michigan’s favor for the remainder of the series. Coastal Carolina defeated the Wolverines 13-4 on Saturday afternoon as the Wolverines had to use five different pitchers to get through the long day.

“Five consecutive weekends of travel down south can become tiring and stressful,” Dufek said. “It is more comfortable to play at home and your sleeping hours aren’t as extreme as they are when you are on the road.”

On Sunday, senior pitcher Alan Oaks gave up only two earned runs and matched his season high with seven strikeouts. But the Wolverines were unable to bring in any runs and fell 3-0 to the Chanticleers.

Going cold on the mound and at the plate in the same game has been a prominent issue since the preseason for Michigan. The inconsistency on offense and defense plagued the team last year and is a problem the Wolverines hoped to address during the early-season stretch.

Michigan has only demonstrated a healthy combination of pitching and hitting arguably once this year against Jacksonville State. In the 14-2 win, senior pitcher Alan Oaks gave up only two runs on four hits and two walks with two strikeouts over six innings. Meanwhile, Dufek, Toth and sophomore third baseman John Lorenz all tallied three hits.

And since then, the Wolverines have not seen such consistency in any of their games.

“If we can get a combination of the two together, working at the same time, we can be a good team,” Maloney said. “I believe it’s in there, I believe it’s attainable. Unfortunately, it hasn’t come together yet.”

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