BLOOMINGTON — A thrilling extra-innings comeback victory on Friday, a heart-stopping narrow triumph on Saturday and a tie for first in the conference, and yet the Michigan baseball team faced one of its most depressing trips home this season.

That ride home will be what the Wolverines about their trip to Bloomington, thanks to a devastating 26-6 loss at the hands of the Hoosiers on Sunday after 16-10 and 6-4 wins in the first two games.

Senior left-hander Eric Katzman (1-1), who pitched in the last two games of the series, including a nearly flawless performance Saturday, just couldn’t perform in the starting role Sunday. He gave up five runs in 0.2 innings, setting a bad precedent for those who relieved him.

The Hoosiers constantly obliterated anything that came their way, and the Michigan (2-1 Big Ten, 15-10 overall) pitching staff combined to yield 26 runs on 27 hits — both easily the highest totals of the season.

“I wish I could tell you (what happened),” Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. “We just had a bunch of guys out there and it snowballed. It started, it just never ended. No one was able to stop the momentum once it got going. Just one of those games that got away from us early.”

Defense, too, is suddenly a concern for the team after it totaled 11 errors over the weekend. It was an uncharacteristic performance for the Wolverines, who had played solidly in the field for much of the season.

“We had a couple outfield errors this weekend and those are really — you really don’t want those to happen,” senior first baseman and co-captain Mike Dufek said. “It was pretty windy here, but we’ve played at windy places before. We just got to get back and work on it this week in practice.”

But luckily for Michigan, the team had already clinched the series before the ugly finale with wins Friday and Saturday.

The Wolverines threw their ace, senior right-hander Alan Oaks on the hill on Friday, but he struggled to put away opposing hitters, giving up eight runs (three earned) in 2.1 innings. When Michigan looked at the scoreboard in the seventh, it found itself down 9-3 to Indiana (1-2 Big Ten, 13-13 overall).

That’s when the comeback began. Michigan put five runs on the board in the inning (including four off Chris Squires, Indiana’s best reliever) and two more in the eighth to take the 10-9 lead. The Hoosiers refused to yield, though, scoring once in the bottom of the frame to tie the game and send it to extras.

With the bases loaded in the top of the 10th, senior captain Mike Dufek delivered. The Scottsdale, Ariz. native laced one to right field to plate two decisive runs. Redshirt sophomore utility man Garrett Stephens followed with his first career grand slam for good measure.

“I noticed (Hoosier pitcher Jerry Kleman) … didn’t really have a third pitch he was throwing to lefthanders, so I was looking for a fastball,” Dufek said. “The second pitch was a fastball inside and was able to get my hands in on it and hit it pretty hard.”

And though Michigan led the entire way Saturday, the game was just as tense as the night before. The Wolverines jumped all over Hoosier starting pitcher Matt Igel, notching five runs in the first three innings.

But Igel settled down and Indiana, like Michigan the game before, refused to quit. The Hoosiers quickly tallied one run in the third and three in the fourth and suddenly it was a 5-4 game. The next inning, they loaded the bases with no outs and had redshirt freshman left-hander Bobby Brosnahan on the ropes.

Maloney decided to keep the southpaw in the game despite his struggles, and the decision paid off. Brosnahan got three straight outs to preserve the lead and ended up pitching seven strong innings of four-run baseball, striking out seven in the process.

“It was a battle out there today,” Brosnahan said. “I had (the bases loaded) earlier in the game, so I just knew if I could make the right pitch, I’d be able to get out of it. It was a huge momentum swing and it really lifted the team.”

Sunday’s debacle dampened the team’s spirits, but the two wins and the series sweep was already in hand.

The Wolverines still won the series and are tied for first in the Big Ten because of it. But the somberness will be difficult to shake, despite the success of the trip.

“The reality is I’d rather have the two wins and a bad loss than the other way around,” Maloney said. “We got two wins, we just have to play better than we did … but the bottom line is we got two wins on the road which is what we came here for.”

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