A basketball national title appearance that went awry and a heart breaking loss in the Frozen Four have left Michigan fans feeling a bit down this April, but I’d argue that context is everything. Only two schools in the last 50 years own basketball and football titles - Michigan is one of them.
Attention spans are short, however, and I get it. My boy, Rickie Fowler, finishing second in this weekend’s Master’s was probably the most fitting end to what I’ve dubbed “Bridesmaid Week”. It’s fine though. Most people would sacrifice their first born to Cthulhu in order to see their school compete in a Final Four and Frozen Four within the same week.
Let’s get to the goods. The Michigan baseball team is on an incredible tear right nowwwww. They’ve won 15-straight after a really rough start and are the hottest team in the country.
Over that span, they’re 6-0 in BIG play having outscored Northwestern and Michigan State by a spectacular 42-7 margin. The Wolverines are winning with both pitching and the bats as they’ve put up four shut outs and scored 10 or more five times since their last loss.
Against Northwestern this past weekend, first baseman Jesse Franklin nabbed five hits and drove in four runs. Starting pitchers Ben Dragani and Tommy Henry continued their undefeated starts to the season improving to 3-0 and 5-0 respectively.
Unfamiliar with this year’s squad? No problem, here’s a primer as we inch towards postseason play.
Overall Record: 19-11 (11-1 at home)
Outfielder Jonathan Engelmann leads the team in average among qualified players hitting a very respectable .325/.467/.863 with three home runs. He’s also tied for the team lead with 12 stolen bases.
Two other guys have double digit steals this year, utility man Ako Thomas (12) and outfielder Christian Bullock (11). While not a power-hitting team, three guys now have multiple home runs. The aforementioned Engelmann and Franklin, as well as junior outfielder Miles Lewis.
Dragani has been used as both a starter and reliever this year, and he’s been awesome in both roles. Across nine appearances (four starts), the 6’5 freshman has an ERA of 1.13 and a whip of .832. Since moving to the rotation full-time, he’s allowed only two runs in 26.2 innings pitched over four starts. Henry has only allowed one run in his last 20 innings. Sophomore Karl Kauffmann has been a reliable third option and carries a 3.12 ERA across eight starts.
Michigan has not exactly faced murderer’s row during this run, but considering the recent spring success of the hoops and hockey teams, only a fool would count these Wolverines out for a run at Omaha.