Web Gem Happens. (photo from MGoBlue)
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.
|Box Score ||R ||H ||E |
|Notre Dame ||0 ||0 ||0 || ||0 ||1 ||0 || ||0 ||1 ||0 || ||2 ||7 ||0 |
|Michigan ||0 ||0 ||1 || ||2 ||0 ||0 || ||0 ||0 ||x || ||3 ||7 ||1 |
W - Katzman (3-1)… Save – Gerbe (1)
Michigan had a pretty tough time at the plate in this game, registering just 7 hits and striking out 9 times. Luckily, Notre Dame struggled just as much at the plate, and Michigan managed to take advantage the second time through the lineup to gain the two runs in the 4th to secure the winning margin.
ND's starter Ryan Richter walked Coley Crank with one out in the inning, and that was followed by a Dufek double to left center. Lorenz grounded out to third, but it was soft enough and to the left of the fielder to allow Crank to score. Kittle would follow that with an RBI single.
On the flip side, Eric Katzman had an alright start, going 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits, and 3 strikeouts. It was your usual Katzman start, a lot of pitches (100 pitches), not a ton of strikes (56), a couple walks (3), a hit batter. It was a meh start, but apparently Jeff Arnold at AnnArbor.com thinks this is a sign that Katzman should be back in the weekend rotation soon. Me, not so much. Katzman has a low ceiling and is just as inconsistent, if not more so than any of our other weekend options this season.
After Katzman, Travis Smith, Kyle Clark, and Matt Gerbe closed out the rest of the game. Smith was quite impressive over his 4 batters, but he also pulled up a bit before being pulled from the game. No word yet on his status. Clark was a bit roughed up, giving up a run on 3 hits, but he did strike out two and walked none. Gerbe came in to close the door, retiring all four batters he faced.
- Matt Gerbe – 1.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, Save
- Coley Crank – 2/2 R, BB
- Attendance – 1,384
- Mike Kittle – stretching here, but his first inning error had me worrying that the lack of support in the field may bring out Evil Katzman.
|Box Score ||R ||H ||E |
|Michigan ||4 ||1 ||0 || ||0 ||0 ||2 || ||6 ||0 ||0 || ||13 ||13 ||1 |
|Notre Dame ||0 ||0 ||0 || ||0 ||0 ||0 || ||0 ||0 ||1 || ||1 ||5 ||1 |
W – Miller (1-2)
This was the type of game that had been expected in game one, so it's nice to see the team get a big win on the road, even with a couple players not in the lineup. More impressive is the timely hitting as all 13 runs were scored with two outs. That had to be tough for Irish fans to swallow.
To start the game, the Irish starter started the game with two quick strikeouts, and then the flood gates opened. LaMarre reached on a throwing error by the shortstop. Berset would single, and Crank got the scoring started with a single of his own. Dufek would then pull one to right center for a triple. Stephens, filling in for Nick Urban, would cap off the scoring with an RBI single of his own. In all, 9 batters would come to the plate in the inning, and Michigan would never look back.
The pitching staff did well to limit Irish opportunities as well. Matt Miller didn't have a great start, but he did have a very good one. He gave up just 2 hits over 6 innings, walking 3 and striking out one. He was much more economical in his pitch count, needing only 72 pitches (50 strikes) to complete his start. That's a start I'd take any mid-week game.
The 7th, 8th, and 9th was thrown by Ben Ballantine, Matt Broder, and Kevin Vangheluwe. It was good to see Ballantine get a good outing in as he hadn't had much time on the bump lately. Broder is also a good sight. The lefty was a pretty solid prospect coming out of high school, but in his previous 3 outings, he's been meh. Vangheluwe did give up a run to blow the shut out, but giving up just one run in one inning is an improvement.
- Chris Berset – 3/4, 2 R, BB
- Coley Crank – 2/4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B
- Anthony Toth – 2/5, 3 RBI, R, 2B
- Ryan LaMarre – 2/5, 2 R, RBI
- Matt Miller – 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K, Win
- Kevin Vanghelwue – blew the shutout. Yes, stretching again
- Mike Kittle – Error at second
These don't mean much of anything Michigan stays static in the RPI, maybe drops a spot or two due to playing such a low ranked team. The good news is we didn't lose like Ohio State did against #217 Akron on Wednesday, or like Michigan State lost to #150 Central Michigan on Wednesday. Our RPI stays nice and shiny in the 50s. They both are bound to drop a bit.
Nick Urban was kept out of the lineup, and supposedly hasn't been practicing out of precautionary measures following his being hit in the head by a pitch. The Daily reports that if he doesn't practice Thursday, he's out against Iowa:
Redshirt senior Nick Urban continued to sit as a precaution after being hit in the head by a pitch last Sunday at Illinois.Maloney said Urban wants to play this weekend against Iowa, but hasn’t practiced and needs to Thursday in order to play.
While I would much rather have Urban in the lineup for speed and defense, having Kittle in the lineup probably won't be too detrimental. We may need some timely hitting against Iowa's decent starting pitching, and Kittle has had that lately.
Derek Dennis took Wednesday off for rest. This was the first game he hasn't played in all season. He's been struggling a bit this season, striking out a Big Ten high 37 times.
Chris Berset is good, and now people will start to realize that. I emailed Kendal Rogers to ask about what Chris Berset needed to do to get on his Position Power Rankings. Lo and behold makes his debut as the #7 catcher in the land. That's no simple feat as KR loves him big names from big conferences. Now if we can just usurp Micah Gibbs of LSU who has less impressive numbers than Berset overall, and has absolutely no defensive prowess.
John Lorenz makes that catch in the opening picture. He's had quite a few great plays at third this year defensively. They go unnoticed in many cases, especially given his fear of fielding higher than .950, or so it would seem. Sometimes it needs to be pointed out just how valuable he can be.
Iowa is up next, with the series opener coming Friday at 6:35pm ET in Ann Arbor.