Baseball: IPFW Recap/EMU Preview
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:
This game was all Michigan all the way through. Every spot in the lineup had at least one run or one RBI, led by Coley Crank who went 2/4 with a no doubt home run, 2 runs scored, and 4 RBI.
Alan Oaks made a short start in game one, going only 5 innings while giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, one walk, and striking out five. His game was still pretty solid, as the first run was a single followed by a couple of easy outs, including the ground out that the run scored on. Those type of innings happen, and Oaks battled through to get the outs.
Meanwhile, on offense, Dufek led off the inning with a double to left center, and he was followed by an Urban double to right and a Lorenz single up the middle for a pair of runs in the 2nd. In the 3rd, Berset reached with a single through the right side and Crank hit the aforementioned home run. According to Paul live at the scene, there was no doubt it was gone, just if it was going to land in the softball field or not.
The fourth inning saw a couple of Michigan hits by Dennis and Biondi (with an RBI), but it also featured a pair of errors on IPFW, including a fielding error on the first baseman allowing Stephens to reach, as well as a poor throw by the second baseman trying to salvage the play to advance him to second. Berset and Crank would also add sacrifice flies for an RBI a piece.
The second IPFW run came in the fifth after a one-out walk and a hard hit RBI double. Oaks was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout and a fly out to finish the inning and his day. With a 7-2 lead, Maloney had was ready to get some others work, and we wouldn't see any more major offensive threats from the Mastodons as Sinnery, Katzman, and Clark shut them down over the next 4 innings.
But Michigan's offense wasn't done, Biondi reached base with a single through the hole on the right side, and on Toth's sac-bunt attempt, the pitcher threw the ball wildly. Berset would get his second sac-fly of the night before Crank and Dufek would knock back-to-back doubles to post 3 runs on the inning.
The rest of the game was just going through the motions as Michigan cruised to a 10-2 win to open the home schedule.
- Coley Crank – 2/4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, K
- Chris Berset – 2/3 2B, 2 RBI, R, 2 SACF
This was a great outing between Brosnahan, Wood, and Ballantine. The three combined for Michigan's 2nd shut out in as many weeks. Brosnahan set a new career high with 8 strikeouts over his 5 innings of work. He allowed just two hits, but he did allow 4 walks which is somewhat bothersome, but perhaps it was a case of being effectively wild? Seven of those strikeouts were of the swinging variety.
Kolby Wood also had a good 3 innings of work. He struck out 5 and allowed just 3 hits as he faced 12 batters. Ballantine worked a scoreless 9th, working himself into some trouble with a pair of singles back up the box, but he induced a tricky 1-6-3 double play to get out of the inning and finish the game.
On offense, Michigan exploded for four in the first inning to start things on the right foot. Biondi led off the game with a triple, setting the tone. Toth would score him on a ground out, but Berset would get runners back on with a double. Dufek would score him with a single, with Urban and Lorenz notching back to back RBI singles. Michigan ended up batting through the order in the inning.
In the second, Biondi again led off, this time singling through the right side. He would later steal second, and following a Crank hit by pitch, Dufek would knock in Biondi with a single. Urban would plate the second run with another double.
In the fourth, Berset led off with a double, and after advancing to third on a Crank ground out, would score on a Mike Dufek single up the middle. That 7-0 score would hold until the 8th when John Lorenz hit a solo homer, his second of the year.
- Brosnahan, Wood,&Ballantine – 9 IP, 14 K, 7 H, 0 R, SHUTOUT
- Nick Urban – 4/5, 2B, 2 RBI, R, SB
- Patrick Biondi – 4/4, 3B, 2 R, SB, SACB
- You, the fan. Attendance was 1,120. First of many 1k+ games we're sure to have this year.
- Coley Crank – 0/4 - I kid. He still had an RBI.
Completing the Saturday double header, Michigan kept the cruise control on, scoring in 5 different innings, capped of with a big one in the 8th. Matt Miller started this game and I'm left wondering if Burgoon doesn't get the start next week. While his first inning went perfect, his second definitely did not. After hitting the first batter, Miller uncorked the first gopher ball of the inning to the second batter. Two outs, he would give up another, this time of the solo variety. His third inning was a bit better, giving up a single, and after a John Lorenz fielding error, Miller would throw a wild pitch. Luckily, he managed to get a strikeout to finish the inning.
Burgoon cam in to relieve Miller after that and was brilliant. He spread two hits over 5 innings while striking out 5 and not giving up a walk. He probably could have gone another inning easily, but Maloney wanted to give Gerbe the inning, were he struck out the side.
The offense was consistent throughout the game, led by Chris Berset, Coley Crank and Mike Dufek in the 3, 4, and 5 holes. The three combined for a 11/15 day with two doubles,4 runs scored, and 8 RBI. That's a monster day from the middle lineup. Only two batters ended the game without a hit in Lorenz and Urban.
- Crank – 4/5; 3 RBI, R. Really made up for Game 1.
- Berset – 4/5; 2 RBI, 2R, 2B.
- Dufek – 3/5; 3 RBI, R, 2B, CS
- Burgoon – 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 5 K, 0 BB
- John Lorenz – Not his game. 0/4; 2 K, 4 LOB
Michigan took care of a weaker opponent like they should this weekend in front of some solid crowds of 869 and 1,120 despite some blistering cold on Friday.
Our bullpen was phenomenal, but our starting pitching was mixed at best. Oaks and Brosnahan had good starts despite the short outings. Oaks worked well to get out of a pair of jams. Brosnahan is walking a fine line. Bad pun intended. He needs to keep cutting down the walks, because he won't be that lucky against better lineups. I think we see Burgoon get the start next week over Miller. Matt's had it rough this season, not dominating like he has out of the bullpen over the last year. Burgoon, meanwhile, is making his case to stay in the starter role. He might not have dominated the better lineups he's faced this year, but he's capable of competing at that level, and he does dominate the weaker competition. I don't have the confidence in Miller yet to say the same.
Mike Dufek is getting hot at the right time. He absolutely destroyed opposing pitchers over the last two weeks. His average has jumped .071 points and his slugging has raised .120 bases per at bat. That's quite the sizable increase, and hopefully this keeps going into Big Ten play next week.
Mike Kittle has had three good games at the plate in a row now, going 5/11 with 4 RBI and 3 runs. Something tells me we see him get the next big chance to play left until LaMarre returns, which still projects as after the Indiana series from some of the rumblings at the ballpark this weekend. Stephens hasn't been producing, and Krantz left the first game of the series after only one at bat (I missed what happened, whether it was injury or just benching). That leaves Kittle and Mills as the next two in line, and Mike has been getting it done in his opportunity.
Eastern Michigan (8-14)
|Tuesday 3:05pm, Ray Fisher Stadium|
|Eric Katzman ||vs||TBA|
|Notes: My guess is Smith on the start, but he'll 1) be on a short leash |
and 2) will only be slated for 3 innings max to get other pitchers
work in. Record is as of Saturday night.
Michigan will host Eastern Michigan on Tuesday in their yearly battle of Washtenaw County "rivalry". Michigan holds a 111-53-2 record against the Eagles, including a 2-2 split last season. EMU won the last game last season—the back end of a pair of 7 inning games—so Michigan must exact revenge in a merciless bloodletting.
I'm not planning on spending too much time previewing mid-week games against MAC or lower opponents unless they particularly stand out, like Toledo will next week. Beware the Rockets (my early warning). Mid-week games are more a test of depth than anything, and I think I'm safe in assuming Michigan has more depth than Eastern Michigan. The test will be if our mid-week pitching can keep the Eagles at bay. I'm hoping yes, but it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if EMU puts up a couple of runs.
The Eagles do have one win of note, a 23-0 win over WVU on the back end of a double header. That was a head scratcher to all the national pundits at the time, and it still is. The rest of their schedule is a couple wins over bad teams, or losses to anyone with a plus, including Michigan state, and Jacksonville State – who Michigan obliterated to open the season- three times.
Could be a tough one as EMU views Michigan as a great opportunity for a win. The team must keep focus in the last tune up before Big Ten play next week.