things go poorly
That just happened. Michigan wins the series 2-1 on the most stunning senior day in recent memory. This series has it all - A pitcher's duel, a stunning heart breaker, a come-from-behind win on senior day featuring the two co-captains completing a walk off. If you have ever been a baseball fan, this was the series for you.
W – Gerbe (2-0)… Save – Burgoon (9)
Game one was the pitchers' duel. Michigan managed the early lead thanks to a leadoff walk of Patrick Biondi. After going to third on a perfectly placed hit and run by Toth, going right through the hole vacated by the second baseman, LaMarre would knock him in on a would-be double play, but Northwestern's second baseman double clutched, giving LaMarre just enough time to beat out the throw. After Berset's single, Crank would line out deep to left, gaining an easy sacrifice fly, and Michigan led 2-0.
Alan Oaks was on the mound for Michigan and had a pretty good game. In his 6 innings of work, he gave up 7 hits and 3 runs. Two of those came in the form of solo home runs by Northwestern's third baseman Chris Lashmet. The third run also involved Lashmet. In the 6th, he would single and score on a Zach Morton double that screamed past a diving Lorenz and took a strange hop off the wall, evading Ryan LaMarre in left.
LaMarre would lead the response for Michigan, knocking a triple off the center field wall. This set up Chris Berset up for an easy RBI single.
Oaks would open the 7th with a hard hit double, and the bullpen would take over for Oaks after that, with the game tied at 3 a piece. Gerbe would give up a sac bunt to move the runner to third, but Mike Dufek made a great play on a slow roller by the next batter to gun the runner trying to score and preserve the tie.
In the bottom of the 7th, Biondi got the offense started on a two-out rally. His walk was followed by back-to-back singles by Toth and LaMarre to bring in a run. With the lead, 4-3, it was all Burgoon from here on out.
- The Pen – 3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K, W, Save
- Anthony Toth – 3/4
- Ryan LaMarre – 2/4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3B
- Game Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
- Attendance: 1385
- Coley Crank – 0/3 RBI, 3 LOB, SACF
The rest of the series, including the THRILLING CONCLUSION, after the jump.
Notes: 191-96-2 All Time, Last year was a 1-2 series loss, Michigan
taking the last game. Game has been rained out and will not be made up.
Wednesday 6:35pm ET, Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
|Stats||Audio (MGo)||BTN.com ($)|
Notes: The first of 4 games streamed this week, and a 5th to start next week .
My guess is Miller with the start.
Due to the limited 8 week conference schedule in the Big Ten, every year, one team is dropped off the conference schedule. There they stay for a two year conference hiatus, before returning for the next 18 years or otherwise depending on things working out in your hypothetical expansion rumor of the week.
This year, it's Michigan State's turn to rotate off the conference regular season slate. To keep the rivalry fresh, the two teams will tango in a mid-week home-and-home series opening Tuesday in East Lansing.
The Spartans had quite high hopes coming out of the first two seasons, even being a fringe ranked team, but they have suffered a near humiliating collapse over the last two weeks, falling from first place in conference to last. They're still a dangerous team, especially if Michigan were to face them on the weekend, but like any other team in the mid-week, nothing is a sure bet.
This series is absolutely meaningless from a conference tournament point of view, but no game against the Spartans will ever be taken lightly in these parts. So with that, we'll move to the slightly abbreviated team preview after the jump.
Western Michigan (10-32)
|Tuesday 3:05pm ET, Kalamazoo, MI|
|Matt Miller (1-2, 5.98 ERA)||vs||Eric Heckaman (0-7, 8.65ERA)|
|Notes: 73-64 All Time (WMU used to be really good back in the 50s), |
Last year's home-and-home was a 2-0 Michigan sweep by score
20-1 and 6-0.
Michigan travels to coach Rich Maloney's old stomping ground today to face off with the Western Michigan Broncos. The Broncos are one of the worst teams in D1 baseball, #267 in Boyd's Pseudo-RPI. Despite that, they do have a mid-week win over Michigan State and a series win over a decent Miami (NTM) team.
Eric Heckaman gets the start for the Broncos for the 10th time this season, which leads the team. In his 51 innings pitched, the righty has given up 75 hits for an opponent batting average of .335. He has just 31 strikeouts but also has 20 walks. He hasn't given up a ton of extra base hits (13 doubles and 5 homers), and he also seems a bit wild with 7 HBP and 4 wild pitches.
At the plate, WMU is lead by Chris Lewis. Lewis leads the team in batting average (.370), on base percentage (.440), slugging percentage (.543), and RBI (34). Ryan McMillan is the only other major threat in the lineup batting .341 and slugging .541. His 24 RBI is second only to Lewis.
After that, there is a lot of meh. Michigan should be able to handle these guys easily, getting an easy win and probably dropping 3 spots in the RPI while their at it. WMU is just that bad.
Weather looks to be perfect with winds blowing straight out to right center at 15 to 20 mph.
Polls and Bubble Watch after the jump:
Michigan took two games against a weak opponent that is still looking to wake the echoes and return to glory from their days when Paul Mainieri, current coach at LSU, was still in South Bend. In Notre Dame's first visit to Ann Arbor since 1977, Michigan won a closely contested game, and the next night, the Wolverines pounded out a huge win.
Abbreviated midweek recaps and thoughts after the jump.
|Tuesday 6:35pm ET, Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI|
|Eric Katzman (2-1, 6.00 ERA)||vs||TBA|
|Stats||Audio (MGo)||BTN.com ($)|
|Notes: Michigan is 78-44 all time, Last year: 1-1 in DH @ND (my |
recap from last season).
|Wednesday 6:05pm ET, Frank Eck Stadium, South Bend, IN|
|Matt Miller (0-2, 7.01 ERA)||vs||TBA|
Michigan will host Notre Dame Tuesday to open a home and home series with the Irish, with the road game for Michigan coming Wednesday. The Irish aren't that good of a team this year, and that might be a bit of an understatement. At just 15-19, they are currently sitting around #201 out of 301 in pseudo-RPI. That said, they, and any college team for that matter, can still be a dangerous team during the mid-week.
Preview and thoughts after a jump:
Michigan took both games in the midweek, beating Toledo by a score of 8-4 and Bowling Green State by a score of 8-5. I'm not going to get into either game too much as the midweek games are pretty meaningless from a long term perspective, but there were a few notable players and storylines worth recapping.
Eric Katzman was brilliant in relief of Matt Miller on Tuesday. Katzman went 5 innings, allowing just one hit and two walks to earn the win. It was great to see him get a solid long relief appearance and hopefully this builds his confidence when it comes to the weekend relief corps. He was mixing up pitches really well, and had some stretches of "effective wildness" that kept hitters off balance and rolling over pitches.
On offense, Ryan LaMarre kept his offensive tear rolling, knocking a 2-run homer in the first inning, his first long ball since returning from the injury. But not everyone enjoyed the LaMarre homer. Chris Berset, still feeling the "sting" of losing his 3-hole spot last weekend, came up on the next pitch to hit a solo home run of his own, the first back-to-back homers Michigan has had since February 2009.
John Lorenz also added on in the early innings to remind some of us that he's just as capable of producing in the 8-hole. Biondi also went 3/4.
This game was a bit more bothersome from an offensive perspective. For the most part, Michigan was kept off base for the first 5 innings. Biondi and Toth combined to produce a run in the first inning, and then the offense went into hibernation mode as Apthorpe chewed through our lineup.
Upon Apthorpe's exit, things picked up. Anthony Toth picked up his first career homer, and LaMarre and Berset both followed that up with hits. After a Crank hit by pitch, the Falcons made their only error of the game on a would be double play ball to end the inning. Instead, it opened the flood gates to a 5 run Michigan inning.
Things weren't all sunshine and happy following the inning. On Berset's double, LaMarre went 1st to 3rd and came up holding his hamstring, stretching it out thoroughly during a pitching conference at the mound. LaMarre would stay in and score on a Dufek sac fly, but he left the game as a precautionary move to start the next inning. He's expected to be fine for the Illinois series.
On the mound, Matt Gerbe made a good start, making it through 4 innings and giving up just one run. He gave up a lot of baserunners, but he managed to escape time and again. That changed in the 5th inning. After loading the bases, with only one out, Gerbe threw a wild pitch through Crank's legs. That plated the first Falcon run of the inning. The next batter would line one right back to Gerbe who made a great snag to catch the ball for an out, but when Gerbe went to throw out the runner at third for not tagging up, the ball was thrown away. Two more runners would score and Gerbe would be pulled.
Kolby Wood came in and did alright in earning the win, but the team did have to use Burgoon again for 2 innings. Tyler was lights out as usual, but I have to wonder what his availability is this weekend. I imagine he won't be in Friday unless it's a dire necessity.
Bonus update from The Daily's game wrap:
“I want to thank Tyler Burgoon for my inspiration for my first home run,” Toth said. “He inspired me by telling me I am never going to get one. He tells me that every single day, whether we have a game or not, so I’m glad I got that monkey off my back.”
Illinois questioning [ed: and awesome excel graph!] after the jump: