The Michigan Wolverines scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game and force extra innings, but eventually lost in the 10th inning to the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in the final game of the season at Wilpon Complex, 6-5.
"We talked about believing that we could do it," said Michigan coach Erik Bakich referring to his team’s rally, per the MMichigan Daily. "We’ve had big innings many times this year. Everyone just found a way to get on base. We tied it up and had the chance to win. We just didn’t win it."
In the top of the first inning, Oakland got a two-out two-run shot off the bat of right fielder Tyler Pagano against right-handed pitcher Ryan Nutof to put the Wolverines in an early deficit. The score remained 2-0 until the offense of Michigan woke up in the in the bottom of the fifth inning.
"(Nutof) left a fastball up and the guy hit it out," Bakich said. "I thought that it was just one pitch that was up in the zone and the guy put a good swing on it."
Ako Thomas led off the inning with a walk and Jake Bivens added a single to put runners on first and second with one-out. Carmen Benedetti, a junior, singled in both Thomas and Bivens to tie the game between the Wolverines and the Golden Grizzlies, 2-2.
The Wolverines (12-8 Big Ten, 34-17) allowed two runs in the top of the sixth inning on a balk and a wild pitch. It was back-to-back miscues that allowed Oakland to take a 4-2 edge in the contest. Matt Dileo, with a man on second base, dropped a sacrifice bunt and advanced the runner to third. The throw to get Dileo at first base hit off his helmet and rolled past first base, allowing a run to score. Oakland took a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.
"That was disappointing to see," Bakich said regarding the miscues. "But you have to put steel in the spine and you got to be better."
Dominic Jamett, a senior pinch-hitter, was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the ninth inning. Michael Brdar reached on an error and Thomas drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Senior center fielder Cody Bruder hit a bases-clearing double to left field to tie the game, 5-5.
"I saw (Thomas) motoring and I was just hoping that he would make it," Bruder said. "We had to tie that game up to get some leverage going our way and hats off to all of the guys in front of me."
Bruder finished 4-for-5 with four RBI and an amazing diving catch in center field.
The Golden Grizzlies (10-12 Horizon, 22-24) picked up an RBI single off the bat of left fielder Myles Zilinsky to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the tenth inning. Oakland shut the door on Michigan, allowing just a one-out walk in the bottom of the frame before securing the victory.
The Wolverines will play the final series of the 2016 season in Champaign, Illinois against the Illinois Fighting Illini. The two teams will square off at 7:00 PM ET for the first game on Thursday. The Maize and Blue have now dropped their last five games.