Baseball BTT: It's Iowa Again
Saturday 3:35pm ET
Notes: Michigan is 102-45 all time.
Iowa is 2-1 in the tourney, 0-1 vs UM.
Michigan lost to Minnesota 4-3 in 11 innings in one of the most thrilling Big Ten Baseball games in this writer's recent memory. The loss was pretty tough to take, but at the same time, Michigan doesn't seem to be stunned. The Wolverines will face Iowa in the loser's bracket for a chance to face Minnesota again in the Championship rounds.
Follow the jump for extremely abbreviated preview.
This game was absolutely ridiculous. The tension and drama was thick all the way through. It have everything, great pitching, timely hitting, the occasional wild pitch for a run. The game track was all over the place. In the end, Tyler Burgoon couldn't get himself out of an inning and Matt Miller lacked his top control. Michigan fell in extras. It was your prototypical Michigan versus Minnesota game from this year – closely contested and kept the fan on the edge of their seat.
Bobby Brosnahan pitched a great game for the maize and blue. His 6.2 innings of 5-hit baseball should have been enough to win. He gave up just one run while walking 3 and striking out 5. Unfortunately, for those who follow my twitter feed, the eventual exit was beginning to become plain to see. Despite his stellar 1-2-3 6th inning, his control hinted that the end was near. Sometimes, I wish I just wasn't right about things like this.
Brosnahan did in fact struggle in the 7th, giving up a run on 2 singles and a walk. With the score at 3-1, Maloney went straight to Burgoon. While he was able to get Michigan out of the 7th, his 8th would be Michigan's demise. Tyler allowed 2 singles to start the inning, and with 2 strikes, he hit O'Shea for a crucial turn in momentum. After two outs, Burgoon gave up another single to score a run. With that the game was tied. Minnesota had almost all of the momentum, and things looked in doubt.
Matt Miller came in at this point and wasn't the dominator Michigan fans had seen the last two weekends. Those at the bar with me could even see that it took two batters every inning before Miller could find his control. That spelled bad news in the 9th, 10th, and the game winning 11th.
After Michigan failed to break through against Minnesota's closer Matyas for the 3rd inning in a row, Miller gave up a single and a walk before giving up the walk off single to Kyle Knudson.
This was a pretty bad loss, but if anything, it was a huge waste of a great start by Bobby Brosnahan. There were a combined 29 runners stranded in the game, 15 Gophers and 14 Wolverines. It's tough to lose that way.
Overall, two things stand out to me. Biondi didn't reach base. In the preview, I said he needed to reach twice for Michigan to be in good shape. It didn't happen. The other thing is Tyler Burgoon's continued struggles. He was singled to death again. It's tough to watch that as none of the hits were that hard, they just found holes. It seems to me that fatigue has set in on his arm. His slider isn't as crisp as it was a few weeks ago. It was tough to see him not be able to finish.
This was a tough loss, but not overwhelming. The boys will be back tomorrow.
- Ryan LaMarre – 3/6, RBI, 2B (only extra base hit by either team)
- John Lorenz – 3/4, HBP. He was also the buzz of the bar in showing off his cannon at third.
- Bobby Brosnahan – 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
- Tyler Burgoon – 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
- Matt Miller – 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6 BB(!), 0 K, 20 strikes in 50 pitches, Loss.
- Coley Crank – 1/6, R, 4 LOB
- Patrick Biondi – 0/5, 2 LOB, SACB. He did make a spectacular catch as well.
We've looked at Iowa a few times now, so I'm going to give you past reading for the vitals:
- Regular Season Iowa Preview
- Regular Season Iowa Recap
- Big Ten Tournament Iowa Preview
- Big Ten Tournament Iowa Recap
What should you take from all that? The Iowa series was somewhat fluke-ish. I really think Michigan was the better team, but the double header momentum carried over a bit too strongly. Iowa also beat Purdue 8-3 in Friday's losers' bracket. Nothing to take out of it as they knocked around Purdue's 4th starter, which is no one you would see on a normal weekend. They posted up 7 runs in the first against a Purdue reliever of dubious value as a starter. The Hawkeyes won. They are now out of pitching.
I have no idea who Iowa throws tomorrow. I would absolutely not flinch if they threw any one of their starters who have already thrown. I wouldn't flinch – as a matter of fact, I'd cackle with glee – if they threw some random guy that I've looked over because he has only thrown 3-5 times this season. It's that time of the tournament for Iowa to throw the kitchen sink. They could throw a guy on 2-3 days rest, they could throw a nobody. Michigan should do well on offense. Hopefully it's not so much that they lose focus and sleep walk to start the late game.
Michigan. Win. Big. Again.
If Michigan can pull it out, they'll face Minnesota in the championship round. Michigan will have to win 2 games in a row, the night cap of a double header on Saturday and again on Sunday. That's a tall task, but at least Michigan has 2 starters left in Sinnery and Katzman. Iowa has no one and Minnesota has a mid week guy.
I have no idea what to expect of Sinnery or Katzman, but I'm banking on Michigan's offense going big or going home.
Go Blue. Beat Everybody.