...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Michigan moved to 18-11 and 4-2 in Big Ten play this weekend with a series win over Purdue at Ray Fisher Stadium, 2 games to 1. Ryan LaMarre was the big story of the weekend exploding for a 9/13 batting average in the 3-hole for your Wolverines.
UPDATE: Ryan even earned POTW honors in the Big Ten:
LaMarre earns his second career Player of the Week honor and his first this season after leading Michigan to a series win against Purdue over the weekend. The outfielder hit .692 and slugged 1.077 on the strength of three doubles and a triple vs. the Boilermakers. He also recorded three hits in every conference game, extending his hitting streak to 10 games dating back to last season. Against Central Michigan on Wednesday, LaMarre made his first start since suffering an injury at Texas Tech on Feb. 20. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI in a 13-7 win. In eight appearances this season, LaMarre has four multi-hit games and is hitting .519 with a .704 slugging percentage.
Full recaps and series thoughts after the jump:
Michigan went into Bloomington this weekend for a three game set to open conference play. The first two games were high intensity with plenty of drama, the last game was a huge let down. Despite that let down, Michigan currently sits tied for first place with 4 other Big Ten teams as we emerge 2-1 on the weekend. That's more important than how badly the team face planted on Sunday.
So for full recap, take the jump. My thoughts on the series come after the individual game recaps.
A home game is now in the books as Michigan downed the IPFW Mastodons for a three game series sweep. Michigan brought the offense, collecting 47 hits for 30 runs. IPFW was the bad team that was expected, and our players didn't disappoint, at least on offense. Pitching had some less than stellar moments, but in the end, the guys that got into trouble kept the losses to a minimum.
Game by game review, series thoughts, and a look at Tuesday's Eastern Michigan game follow:
So I was planning on interviewing Michigan baseball coach Rich Maloney tomorrow, but this morning's Michigan Insider with Sam Webb had their time with Rich Maloney this morning and they more than asked pretty much all of my same questions. So I'll summarize Maloney's comments here (full audio):
- The rotation is still up in the air. Oaks and Brosnahan appear to have solidified their spot in the weekend. Burgoon is going back to the closer role for now, but if Miller continues to struggle, Burgoon will be the third guy. If for some reason we don't have to use Burgoon in a Friday and Saturday, we could see him on Sunday as well.
- Ryan LaMarre is due to have the pins out of his thumb tomorrow (Wednesday). It should be at least a week of rehab to build up strength. Maloney expects LaMarre to battle to get in quicker against Indiana, but "but that might be a bit of a reach."
- Coley Crank has been a surprise to Maloney. They knew he'd one day be an offensive force, but his explosion this early was surprising. He's also greatly improved his defense.
- "Chris Berset is playing at an unbelievable level right now. He's truly one of the best catchers in the country right now."
- "Dufek hasn't been hitting them out of the park, but he's been starting to come alive with the bat." We'll have some more on this later in the week here at mgoblog.
- We're playing at Stanford next year, at LSU in 2012.
- Rain delays in Atlanta pushed back getting into Ann Arbor from 10pm Sunday via airplane to 2pm Monday (with a 12 hour bus trip).
- WTKA will broadcast 10 games this season between WTKA and WLBY
So it sounds like LaMarre is still on schedule. I wouldn't be surprised to see Ryan get a few at bats against Indiana, at least in a DH or pinch hitter role, most likely the latter.
This weekend saw Michigan play one close game on Friday with a final score of 8-6, but the other two games this weekend were Michigan overpowering a team without quality depth. Both games on Saturday were decided by over ten runs, 13-2 and 20-0. That's not even fun. Quick recaps after the jump.
- Friday 3pm ET – Live stats, CiL Live Blog
Alan Oaks (1-1) vs Matt Harvey (1-0)
- Saturday 2pm ET – Live stats, Live Audio
Matt Miller (0-1) vs Patrick Johnson (1-1)
- Sunday 1pm ET – Live Stats
TBA vs Colin Bates (2-0)
Opponent Record (rank): 7-1 (#13 in CBI's composite poll)
Michigan Record (rank): 4-4 (unranked)
All Time Series: 7-3 (Last game – W 1-0, neutral site, 3/6/2005)
Chapel Hill, NC
This weekend, Michigan takes on the University of North Carolina as an underdog. The Tarheels enter the series ranked as high as #12 in the coaches' and writers' poll. The lowest ranking they have is #20 in the BaseballAmerica poll. They've got a 7-1 record over nobody of importance and a loss to Maine.
UNC is one of the more talented teams Michigan will face this season, coming off a College World Series berth and one of their best teams ever. The good news is they lost the anchors to last years team, including pitcher Alex White and hitter Dustin Ackley, the #15 and #2 overall picks in the last MLB draft. They also lose their second starter and their second and fourth best hitters. This isn't the same Tarheel team.
As such, this year's UNC team has struggled despite their pretty record. Like Michigan, they've had games with big offensive numbers, but decent to good pitching spells trouble. They aren't scoring as few runs as Michigan, but they aren't blowing out the teams they've played. Given their quality, they probably should have. In their loss to an unusually solid Maine pitching staff, the Tarheels managed 11 hits, but scored only 3 runs and stranded 9 base runners.
They sound, not only from the Maine loss but their entire season, like a team reminiscent of Michigan last year. A type of team where a pitching duel would leave them in some hot water. That's exactly what Michigan wants to do this weekend.
Plus, recent history is on our side. In our last game against UNC in 1995, Michigan won in a pitchers duel by a score of 1-0. Michigan registered a game winning double in the top of the 9th to secure an upset of #10 UNC at a tournament in Greenville, NC. [Continued after the jump.]