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Michigan Baseball vs. Pepperdine: Weekend Series Preview

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We could see a few pitcher duels this weekend.

College World Series - Vanderbilt v Michigan - Game Two Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

A pair of games in the middle of this week stirred things up for the Wolverines. They dropped Tuesday’s contest to Stanford, but rebounded in a big way on Wednesday with a solid 5-0 victory over Cal. The Wolverines used three arms on Tuesday and then five on Wednesday as they pieced together more great pitching. Michigan pitching was great again, only allowing one earned run over the two games.

The maize and blue will play one more series in California before returning home from their spring break trip. No. 24 Pepperdine will play host to Michigan for a three game set which will kick off tonight at 5 p.m. ET. Tomorrow will feature a double header with the game times set for 1 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. ET.

This will be the first meeting between these teams since 1999 when the Waves swept Michigan.

Getting to Know Pepperdine

Pepperdine Pitching: Pepperdine carries an impressive 10-2 record into the weekend series, which has them back in the rankings for the first time since 2014. Starting pitching has been a big factor in the Waves early season success. Their top three starters, Wil Jensen, Cooper Chandler, and Trevor Kniskern, have been phenomenal, combining for a 7-0 record in their starts this season. Jensen underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 after seven starts and a nation-leading 0.74 ERA. He was forced to miss nearly all of last season as he recovered but is now back as the Friday night guy for the Waves. Cooper Chandler was named WCC Freshman of the Year in 2018 by boasting a 2.72 ERA in conference play; however, his 2019 campaign was also cut short due to injury. Lastly, there’s sophomore Trevor Kniskern, who led the team with a sparkling 2.42 ERA last year, earning him WCC All-Freshman honors. The Wolverines will be in for a challenge at the plate facing these three arms today and tomorrow.

Pepperdine Hitting: The Waves return six starting position players from last year in addition to the solid starters named above. The left side of the infield for the Waves is a major source of their offense. Sophomore shortstop Wyatt Young hit .321 last season and provides the spark at the top of the lineup for Pepperdine. Senior third baseman Aharon Modlin, who is also a defensive standout, mans the three hole in the lineup. He is currently hitting .365 this season with four 3-hit games. Junior center fielder Billy Cook may be the most dangerous hitter in this lineup though. He only played 30 games last season due to injury yet still led the team in home runs. He’s already homered four times this year to go with his .360 average.

Weekend Starting Pitching Matchups

Friday, March 6, 5 p.m. ET: RHP Jeff Criswell (0-0, 4.26 ERA) vs RHP Wil Jensen (2-0, 2.41 ERA)

Saturday, March 7, 1 p.m. ET: LHP Steven Hajjar (2-0, 2.57 ERA) vs RHP Cooper Chandler (3-0, 1.00 ERA)

Saturday, March 7, 5 p.m. ET: RHP Blake Beers (2-1, 2.50 ERA) vs RHP Trevor Kniskern (2-0, 2.93 ERA)

The three-game weekend series will be played at Eddy D. Field Stadium in Malibu, California. All three games will be broadcast via the WCC Network and Stadium will also be streaming each game.