The Michigan Wolverines’ baseball team’s home-opening series at Ray Fisher Stadium in Ann Arbor saw sunny skies, 70 degree weather, incredible starting pitching and offensive fireworks en route to three wins against the Dayton Flyers. Here’s how it all happened.
The first game of the series on Thursday was all defense. The two teams combines for seven total hits and 20 total strikeouts. Every hitter in Dayton’s lineup, except for first baseman Marcos Pujols, had at least one strikeout. Two Dayton hitters had three strikeouts each.
On the other side of that coin, the starting pitching for both teams was phenomenal. Dayton’s starting pitcher, Ryan Steinhauer, went six innings, surrendering only three hits and two runs (only one earned), along with four walks and three strikeouts. The Dayton bullpen was great as well, giving up only one hit in the remaining two innings, with one walk and three strikeouts.
Usually, a combined effort such as that would be enough to earn a team the win, but not if Michigan starter Connor O’Halloran has anything to say about it.
Talk about shut down — O’Halloran went eight innings, surrendering only three hits and one run with zero walks and 13 strikeouts. O’Halloran struck out nearly half the 28 batters he faced. Relief pitcher Chase Allen earned his second save of the season, only having to throw eight pitches in his inning of work to do so.
Michigan’s lone two runs of the game came early on in the game from an RBI walk in the second inning and a sacrifice fly in the third inning. That’s all the Wolverines needed, winning Game 1, 2-1.
In a game that was almost the complete opposite of Game 1, Michigan’s offense reigned terror on the Dayton pitching staff Friday afternoon.
Dayton starter, Chris Peguero failed to make it out of the first inning, giving up six earned runs in just 0.2 innings of work. The rest of the day followed suit, as the eight Dayton pitchers who saw the mound gave up 18 runs.
Michigan’s offense was led in this one by second baseman Ted Burton, who had a career day at the plate going 4-for-6 with eight RBI and scoring four runs himself. Four of his RBI came on one swing of the bat thanks to a first-pitch grand slam in the first inning. He later had a two-run home run in the sixth inning, an RBI double in the seventh and an RBI single in the eighth.
Riley Bertram had a four-hit game as well with two RBI and three runs scored. Three other Wolverines also had multi-hit games: Dylan Stanton (three), Joe Stewart (three) and Clark Elliot (two).
Noah Rennard got the win for the Wolverines on the mound, as the Wolverines trampled the Flyers, 18-6.
The bullpen pitching was ultimately the difference in this series’ third game on Sunday.
The scoring came to a halt after the fourth inning was over. Dayton’s Parker Bard went three innings for the Flyers, surrendering only one hit, while Bryce Hellgeth threw one inning out of the bullpen, giving up zero hits and only one walk.
Michigan’s Chase Allen, who earned the save in the series’ first game, threw four miraculous innings. Allen did not give up a hit to any of the 13 batters he faced, nor did he give up a run, walking one and striking out six in the process.
The main offensive blow came off the bat of left fielder Tito Flores, who homered in the fourth inning to give the Wolverines a 3-2 lead. The lead was extended later in the inning, as Clark Elliot singed in Riley Bertram, making the score 4-2.
That score would hold for the remainder of the game, giving the Wolverines the sweep.
Michigan now sits at 11-8 through the first month of the season. The team will now prepare to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to play the Xavier Musketeers this Wednesday at 3 p.m.