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Michigan loses heartbreaker at Vanderbilt, shifts focus to weekend series with Dayton

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They Wolverines lose on walk-off wild pitch in Nashville, host Dayton in Ann Arbor this weekend.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines’ baseball team fell just short against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Tuesday night in Nashville. Michigan led most of the game, but squandered the lead late.

With the loss, the Wolverines now sit right at the .500 mark with an 8-8 record. They hope to improve on that this weekend as the Dayton Flyers come to Ann Arbor for a three game set.

Before we get into that series, let’s take a look at what happened in Nashville:

Michigan vs. Vanderbilt

Coming into this game, the Commodores had won 25 straight midweek games at home. Vanderbilt got on the board 1st in this one with one run in the 3rd, and threatened to break things open in the 4th. The Commodores loaded the bases with nobody out, forcing Michigan to go to the pen and bring in Noah Rennard. Rennard somehow worked his way out of the jam, and The Wolverines got out of the inning unscathed. Michigan then scored two in the 5th and in the 7th and all of a sudden had the fourth-ranked team in the nation on the ropes. Vandy got one back in the 7th, but the Wolverines took a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the 9th. That’s when things went south. With two outs in the 9th, a two-run hit from Tate Kolwyck tied things up. Kolwyck eventually scored on a walk-off wild pitch to win the game for Vanderbilt, 5-4.

This wasn’t the first time Michigan blew a 9th inning lead against a nationally ranked team this season. In game one, the Wolverines led the 14th-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders in the 9th before blowing the lead.

Still, the Wolverines have showed the capability to play with some of the best teams in the country. There shouldn’t be only disappointment in the Michigan clubhouse. There should still be a lot of confidence in that building.

The Wolverines are limping into their series with Dayton and have now lost five of its last six games.

Michigan vs. Dayton preview

It’s still unclear how the scheduling for this series will go as the weather has thrown a wrench in the plans. The current schedule was one game on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Now, game one is set to take place on Thursday, and the date for game two will be either Friday or Saturday. Game three is still scheduled for Sunday.

Dayton comes into this series on a three-game losing streak and with a 7-6 record. The Flyers haven’t played any ranked teams this year, but just squared off with another Big Ten team: Purdue. The Boilers won that one easily, 11-2.

On the offensive side, once you get out of the meat of the order, the Flyers struggle a bit at the plate. They have two players hitting over .300, as Jay Curtis leads the team with a .340 average and Keagan Calero is hitting .318. The Flyers have 6 players who get consistent at bats who are hitting below .230. That’s not great for Dayton.

On the pitching side, the Flyers are very hit or miss. They’re allowing just over five earned runs per game as the team ERA sits at 5.22. They have some guys who pitch consistently with really solid eras such as Anthony Hattrup (14.1 IP, 1.88 ERA) and Ryan Steinhauer (14.1 IP, 2.51 ERA). They also have some guys who have struggled. Kenny Serwa has a 9.00 ERA with 15 IP.

With this being a three game series, Michigan should see a lot of different arms from the Flyers.

With 15-0 Purdue being the exception, Dayton hasn’t played the best competition this year (North Carolina A&T, Evansville, Eastern Kentucky, Belmont, Wright State and Milwaukee) and is still just one game above .500. This series should be a good opportunity for Michigan to get some wins.