After a hot start to the season with top-ten wins over Vanderbilt and Arizona State, the Wolverines have cooled off a bit. Their last four games have all come against UConn and the Huskies stole three of four from Michigan. Obviously it is still very early in the season as Team 154 continues to work out some kinks and adjusts to long road trips and time zone changes.
The three-game weekend series against the Cal Poly Mustangs kicks off tonight at 9 pm. ET. The Wolverines and Mustangs met two weeks ago in Arizona with Michigan taking the game in an 8-5 final, backed by a strong debut from starting pitcher Blake Beers. Jordan Nwogu and Jack Blomgren combined for seven hits in the contest, accounting for three of Michigan’s runs.
Junior outfielder Jesse Franklin remains out with an injury for a few more weeks. Coach Erik Bakich has mostly used a four-man outfield rotation consisting of Jordan Nwgou, Clark Elliot, Danny Zimmermann, and Dominic Clementi, who has also slotted in as a designated hitter several times this year.
Getting to Know Cal Poly
The Cal Poly Mustangs: Starting pitching is not to blame for the Mustangs 3-6 record to start the season. The top three starters for Cal Poly have been tremendous. In two starts, Taylor Dollard has posted a 1.29 ERA, Andrew Alvarez a 0.84 ERA, and Drew Thorpe a 1.20 ERA. The bullpen has been much more of an issue. Although it is very early in the season still, five pitchers on the staff currently carry ERA’s above 4. As a result of this, Cal Poly has stumbled in close games this season. They are 1-4 in games decided by four or fewer runs.
Offensively, Cal Poly has been fueled by three main guys. First baseman Tate Samuelson, center fielder Bradlee Beesley, and catcher Myles Emmerson all carry averages above .300 into the weekend. Samuelson leads the team with 9 RBI’s while Beesley leads the team with 10 runs scored. Last weekend in a four-game series against BYU, Emmerson execelled at plate, going 9-for-18.
Weekend Projected Starting Pitcher Matchups
Friday, February 28, 9 p.m. ET: RHP Jeff Criwell (0-0, 6.35 ERA) vs RHP Taylor Dollard (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
Saturday, February 29, 7 p.m. ET: LHP Steven Hajjar (2-0, 1.64 ERA) vs LHP Andrew Alvarez (0-1, 0.84 ERA)
Sunday, March 1, 4 p.m. ET: RHP Blake Beers (1-1, 3.60 ERA) vs RHP Drew Thorpe (1-0, 1.20 ERA)
The three-game weekend series will be played at Baggett Stadium in San Luis Obispo, California. The games will once again not be televised but post game updates will be posted here at Maize n Brew.